Monday, August 9, 2010


In elementary and high school we got to play with clay. Almost all my projects fell apart. On a lark, my first quarter of college I took a ceramics class to balance out the overly academic workload. The teacher was inspiring, energetic, and a taskmaster. I got a C. But more importantly, I realized why my projects had all fallen apart: it was the clay's fault. I learned to choose better clay, and by the end of that first quarter I was hooked. I took my second quarter of Clay sculpture a year later from another teacher.
The ceramics studio at Spokane Falls Community College became my retreat. I ended up there instead of in my regular classes, thrilling in the energy and community. I felt I had found my "safe haven" and worked hard to learn every aspect of the studio. I took more than 12 ceramics classes over the course of 8 years. I even met, in that ceramics studio, a beautiful girl who would become my wife. We spent many long hours together around the clay classroom, "working".
Two years ago my wife and I bought an electric kiln. I think we were both wanting a bit of that old studio in our lives again. This year we finally got around to setting up a working pottery studio: "Red Panda Pottery". Recently, a friend asked what my long term plan for the studio is. In answer, I would like to generate some of the same dynamic qualities that I adored from the ceramics studio. Here are a few things I would like to incorporate into our operation.

1. An attitude of constant improvement.
2. Fun and challenging assignments designed to pull from deep within the students' abilities.
3. Free use of clay, glaze, and kiln space (a creative way to do this could be to sell the best of student work to fund the studio) --thoughtfully, I know that student fees and government grants actually paid for the materials at SFCC. I don't have very many "students", and I would like to make money, so to break even, I'm making and selling stuff, too.