Last week, I wrote about the heavy — all the sacrifices one must make in order to be successful in infiltrating the art world (as it has been made known to me) and the strength needed to overcome the resistance one might feel in doing so. This week, however, it might be a little nicer to have more of a celebration, a reflection on the satisfaction of succeeding, in small ways and in big ways along the ride.
So here’s my celebratory announcement: I got a job, and in the ceramics field nonetheless!
Okay, so if you read my post last week, that wasn’t much of a surprise, but there’s a lot to be excited about! The job is at a place called Hudson Valley Pottery, and it’s at a great independent pottery studio in the heart of Rhinebeck, New York, an absolutely perfect village if you like quaint, mom-and-pop shops and hole-in-the-wall, gourmet restaurants all within walking distance of each other. They offer several types of clay courses to accommodate all levels of ability, from adult and teen classes to private lessons and even a kid’s camp, with plenty of open studio time.
As per my position, I am going to be responsible for assisting during Clay Camp for kids Monday through Friday during the months of July and August. I was lucky enough to have experienced a Saturday afternoon kid’s class while I was home for Easter break, and it made me that much more excited to start. The energy that children have is undoubtedly contagious, and was incredible to see. The excitement in the faces of some of our participants that day was so inspiring, and I can’t wait to help them hone their skills, just as I am actively doing in school.
In addition to teaching the younger age group, I am going to be assisting in the adult classes and consulting for private lessons. These courses will provide a bit more structured training regarding particular techniques targeted toward a more mature audience, with the ability to maintain their focus for a bit more extended periods of time. I am excited to face more challenging questions and learn from other individuals who are nurturing their own ideas and bringing them into existence right in front of my eyes.
I am also lending a hand in maintaining order in the studio, ensuring each class has a clearly labeled shelf space, ensuring greenware, bisqueware, and work ready for the glaze firing are all kept in their appropriate locations, and that the reclaim gets done on a regular basis. Luckily, I will also be exposed to juggling the firing schedule, operating the kilns themselves, mixing glazes, and who knows what else?
Organization makes the studio run more smoothly, but cleanliness is not an option. If cleaning the studio space along with tools and aprons is done carelessly or infrequently, the silica dust in the clay is more likely to be kicked up and subsequently ingested or inhaled. Unfortunately, once this dust settles in the lungs it will remain forever, and could cause health problems later in life such as emphysema or COPD. It is important to be especially sensitive to this fact due to the fact children will be present in the facility quite often. So cleaning is a huge responsibility. Therefore, lots and lots and lots of scrubbing, mopping, and washing will be done regularly.
Other than that, I’m hoping to be very critically involved. I hope I can create programs of my own for students of all ages, familiarize myself with the business model (without being too invasive of course), and help operate the studio as efficiently as possible. I have some really great ideas, and I’m even more excited to be in an environment so conducive to creating my own pieces as well. I’ll even have the opportunity to sell my wares on the premises. The more I get my work out there and showcase my abilities the better, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to start as soon as I return home!
Wish me luck!
If you’d like to learn a little more about the studio, or even come take a lesson with me, check out the Hudson Valley Pottery website here and leave me a message in the comments! I’d love to answer any questions you might have, and if I can’t answer it on my own, I’ll certainly ask Judi. Judi Esmond, the owner of this fine establishment, is an incredible talent with regard to both photography and ceramics, and has been at it for over 17 years. So check it out. You won’t be disappointed!