Try It, You Just Might Like It
Mentoring Potters Council Members
By Dinah Snipes Steveni, Potters Council Board Member and Chair of Mentoring Committee
an excerpt from the September 2012 Potters’ Pages newsletter
It takes up too much time. I don’t want to deal with a rank beginner. The answers are all out there. Join an online forum. I’m not interested in batting off hobbyist’s questions.
This morning I read one of those instant nuggets of wisdom that abound on FaceBook: “Don’t have enough time? Well, you’ve got the same numbers of hours in your life as did Albert Einstein, Mother Teresa, Helen Keller, Martin Luther King….” No delusions of grandeur, but I very much approve of the underlying sentiment, and then there’s its bookend–If you want something done, ask a busy person. That’s what I’m doing here—asking.
Yes, of course there are the beginners and the more established out there who need help. They may be in a guild, or a shared studio, but for some, the politics of asking isn’t easy, and they need a neutral observer. Think of yourself as the United Nations Volunteer of Ceramics. An hour or less conversation on Skype perhaps, or more usual the phone call working through an agenda is a great start. Maybe once a week to begin with, then try fortnightly. It’s entirely up to you and your Mentee. Many folks don’t have access to reference materials. Many also have poor internet connectivity and slow downloading, which is often geographic, sometimes financial. Online forums are excellent. It just depends on the questions asked. Some need assistance in formulating or how to direct their queries. You can be the confidence booster. Many degree awarding ceramics programs are superbly oriented around process rather than product. It’s a methodology which works well in those settings. What is often a difficult area for potters is the marketing of oneself, the formulation of a portfolio, language skills, good workshop and studio practice, business skills, photographing work, designing a website. These are areas which fall into line and become hugely important as a potter matures. These skills become more important the further one is from degree work. Mentors are often asked about these skills more than any others; work critiques being a close second.
Are you interested in the Potters Council Mentoring Program?
Click here to find out more.
I know my Mentee is progressing, because contact is lessening. More confidence/independence is evident, successful sales, deep immersion in processes to become a better potter, questing after making photographs with the wow factor of her work. It’s a very good feeling to help someone. In fact, my time with my Mentee has helped me with my own practice, makes me reflect more often, and have the internal dialogue about The Good Pot. What is Good Practice? Best Practice? All potters know this dialogue. As a Potters Council Board Member, I’ve taken on some responsibilities in the Mentoring Program; and now I’d like to invite you to take a look at the application form for Mentoring which is easily accessed through Potters Council website. Happy to chat online or by phone—my details are in the Members Gallery and on the masthead of the Potter’s Pages.
Do you have knowledge and expertise to share with others?
Are you ready to give back to the ceramic community as a mentor?