The trajectory of style

Once upon a time I think I must have been a good teacher….. These are thoughts from three years ago, when I was helping to pay my bills by sharing knowledge with eager students. Distant days, I’m afraid… I can almost remember what teaching was like.


I just finished teaching a course at the community arts center that was hugely ambitious but probably not as immediately useful to the students as I had hoped. My plan was that the ‘advanced/intermediate’ potters who signed up for the class would all work on finding some coherent aesthetic direction in a run of pots. Where I teach the classes mostly focus on specific techniques, specific types of forms, specific functional issues, but almost never on aesthetic considerations. So this class was my attempt to get students to start figuring out what kinds of things they liked about specific pots (or pots in general) and to see how those ideas could translate across a variety of shapes and forms.

I realized that the first day of class I would need to expose them to what other potters do that serves as an exploration of particular ideas and interests. For instance…

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About Carter Gillies

I am an active potter and sometime pottery instructor who is fascinated by the philosophical side of making pots, teaching these skills, and issues of the artistic life in general. I seem to have a lot to say on this blog, but I don't insist that I'm right. I'm always trying to figure stuff out, and part of that involves admitting that I am almost always wrong in important ways. If you are up for it, please help me out by steering my thoughts in new and interesting directions. I always appreciate the challenge of learning what other people think.
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1 Response to The trajectory of style

  1. alison says:

    wonderful article about teaching, carter. much food for deeper considerations here. thank you for writing so distinctly about the things that mean much to you!

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