Name: Ellen Silberlicht
Graduation Year & Degree: Certificate in Instructional Art 2004, MA Studio Art Ceramics 2008
Major: Art Education, Ceramics
Current Occupation: Retired art teacher at Honesdale High School
How long at prior job: 15 years
Current Website: www.ellensilberlicht.com
What was your favorite part about studying art at Marywood?
Most studios at Marywood were underused while I was there. So many times I felt I had the workspace to myself. The art facilities gave me everything I needed to express my vision.
How did your art education at Marywood help your career?
My teaching degree allowed me to teach at Wayne Highlands school district. My love of ceramics allowed me to build a wonderful program where I eventually taught pottery full time with overflowing class sizes.
What attracted you to this career path?
When I was very young, my mother took a class at the Everhart Museum with Paulus Berensohn. He wrote a book…Finding One’s Way with Clay, which she brought home to share with me. This became my “bible”. I was so intrigued, I knew immediately, I wanted to be a potter when I grew up!
Did your career path match your vision of a career path? What’s different?
I always wanted to be a potter. I attended undergrad at RIT and never intended to be a teacher. I became a “starving artist” instead. I first worked in a fine art foundry in Tulsa, OK and then had an opportunity to teach ceramics and photography at Holland Hall in Tulsa for two years. Years later, after establishing my business of marketing my avante garde clothing through the American Craft Council, I fell into a teaching position at Lancaster Country Day in Lancaster, PA where I discovered my love of teaching. Returning to my home town, I attended Marywood to earn my teaching certification and joined the faculty at Wayne Highlands School District. I never intended to teach and I never intended to return to my hometown. Funny how life unfolds….if you let it flow.
What is your favorite thing about your current job?
I am now retired from teaching but not retired from life as an artist. I teach wet felting through on-line classes and in person. I love to continue sharing my passions with others and traveling to meet new people.
Are you currently working on any interesting side projects?
I am always working on something! Currently working with two felting organizations for possible international teaching in 2023.
What were some of the biggest rewards in your career?
I loved using the ARTS to open the eyes of high school students. I feel I was a positive mentor and an adult who they could feel comfortable in sharing their issues, ideas, and visions.
What was something that would surprise people about your day-to-day?
When I was teaching, my days flew by. Teaching clay all day, I flowed through my classes, able to concentrate on the students’ achievements more than the lesson plans, for the lesson plans were second nature to me.
What inspires you?
Nature holds my attention with all the patterns, pod forms, colors and splendor. A rocky cliff side, the brilliant colors of a bird, the intricate pod shapes, and the ever changing landscapes all influence my work.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I know I have plenty more stories, but enough for now. I do have a posting on my website that explains how my work evolved from one series to another, which was composed once I was able to look back and reflect on the “cause and effects” and how real life influences our work as well as our imagination.
Any advice for current art students at Marywood?
If you don’t have a passion for what you are working towards, you are on the wrong path. Take more classes to find that “thing” that makes you always want to know more!
ARE YOU INTERESTED IN STUDYING Ceramics?
3D (Sculpture/Ceramics) – Bachelor of Fine Arts: Studio Arts
Our sculpture program will prepare you for a career in sculpture or ceramics through a thorough examination of 3D forms and space, with an emphasis on traditional and highly technical skills. Our sculpture and ceramics studios support work in wood, glass, plaster, wire, jewelry, metal, porcelain, and clay.
The Master of Arts 36-credit Visual Arts program is intended for graduates of schools and departments of art/art education who want to develop their talents as studio artists. Study with outstanding practitioners in these fields acts as springboard for further professional growth and education. The Master of Arts in Art Therapy is a 60-credit program that follows guidelines for art therapy training recommended by the American Art Therapy Association. Degrees are available in Art Therapy and Studio Arts in Ceramics, Sculpture, Painting, Printmaking, and Photography.