Sunday, April 5, 2009
The long road to grad school
Well, I'm not getting any younger and it is about time to make a decision about grad school.
I applied to several schools and was accepted into all of them. I just had to choose one that would best suit my needs. So, I had a few requirements:
1. Had to be balanced. This means there needed to be a balance between sculptural/conceptual works and functional pottery. I realize functional works can also be conceptual, but sometimes the work is ephemeral.
2. Professor(s) need to possess a wealth of knowledge. If a concern arose, like they often do in a pinch, I wanted a teacher to offer suggestive corrections to the problem; not shrugs.
3. Community oriented. Ceramics to me is very communal. I wanted to surround myself with like minded folks who enjoy cooking and conversation just as much as appreciating the wares containing the dishes.
4. Financial support. Needless to say, I broke ya'll. I really do not want to accrue any more debt than I already have. Anybody wanna buy a 1890's Victorian home on the East Coast?
5. Facilities. The school had to offer the firing possibilities I am looking for, such as, wood, salt, soda, gas, car, train, you name it, I want the options; Not to mention, glaze calculation, clay body formulation, tool making classes.
Well, its a wish list I know. I choose three schools for three different reasons. One school for location, one for reputation, and the other for suggestion. I visited all three to form my own opinions and my mind was made up pretty fast at the first school visit. The teacher say "So your a vessel maker...let me introduce you to the last vessel maker we converted into sculpture." Then, the professor went onto say "When my door is shut don't bother knocking. I'm busy."
A few weeks later I decided to visit another school. I applied to this school because a good friend said it was a "sleeper" school and good things were happening there. Why not apply? Well, schools that are in state of transition is a good reason. I know how long things tend to drag on at the university level and my vision was to apply to an established program. No thanks. Plus the monies were not on point. Oh, did I mention the grad student who was supposed to show me around disappeared? We were supposed to eat lunch together. He bailed to have lunch with his girl. I called him three more times and he never returned a message...communication problems?
They always say the third time around is the best, and for me, this old saying rang true. Of course this program was the one based on reputation and not location. It is the farthest from home and family but possesses all of my requirements. When I arrived I flew in with the guest artist in town for a workshop. He was humble and had a warm smile, so was the professor who arrived on time to take us the our abode. We stopped for killer sushi...I was hooked. You had me at sashimi. The next morning my host couple made french toast for breakfast. There were fresh bagels every morning. Lunches were treated as well. The culmination of my experience was a potluck filled with good food, friends, and lots of laughs, not to mention sake.
There is just one hang up...finances. I have to have a teaching assistantship to go (remember I'm broke.) I am keeping my fingers crossed and hope they call next week with cash in hand to offer.