As a graduate of the WARM Mentor Program I was privileged to observe a range of mentor – protégée relationships. I would love to have the opportunity to share the experience I have since gained, and also to learn from the protégées in the program. While I haven’t been a formal mentor, I have had informal experience encouraging the career development of studio mates.
As a mentor I see myself as a guide and collaborator. The path we follow will be determined by the needs and interests of the protégée. I believe in the importance of listening and asking thoughtful questions. If a protégée wants artistic critique, I believe it is crucial to build on what’s working and use methods similar to the critical response process to provide constructive feedback.
Another important role of the mentor is providing connections and introductions to members of the arts community. I have gathered considerable experience with marketing because of my self-publishing experience as a writer, and also have experience working with art consultants.
Flexibility and a willingness to try different approaches are also important. Sometimes, gallery visits are a good tool, sometimes a session in the studio experimenting with new techniques together can work wonders. Most of all, the mentoring experience should be an enjoyable way to encourage growth for both parties.
I love to play with shape, color, and pattern, but most of all, I love to play with clay. What motivates me are those moments of fusion with the material when time and judgment drop away and there is only touch and the beguiling color of wet terra cotta. As an artist educated in science, the technical aspects of glazing and firing attract me as well. That is why I also enjoy monotype – like clay, it is a medium where the interface between art and technology leads to elements of surprise.
The tension between order and emotion, the rational and the organic intrigues me. I find beauty in both natural and manufactured detail. My pods grow out of my fascination with nature’s instinctive drive towards growth and change. In the “spirit windows” classic gothic arches symbolize yearning for the holy in our often mechanical and always complicated lives.