Thursday, February 28, 2008

Shabbat Lamp Part I

Ah ha, here it is:

It's a good thing I didn't take a picture of the thing I made last week, because it completely dried out and I had to throw it away. However, today the air was so dry that I was able to make everything you see above in 3 hours. Woo!

And yes, I made it really Jew-y, what can I say.. it's a Shabbat lamp! I was going to make it really generic, but then I thought it should at least say "Shabbat" on it, and then I thought, maybe I should put a pomegranate on it, and then I had some extra space so I stuck in some grapes. What can I say, I am kind of a sucker for Judaica, even though I am so against making it I kind of can't help it.

This is just part one, we'll see how it develops and if it lasts the first round of firing.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Perfect Ending

I wrote about my ridiculously terrible experience interviewing at the school in NYC a couple of weeks ago.

Before I tell you the end of the story, I want to tell you two things I learned this weekend about that school while in Chicago.

#1: That school was interviewing literally every applicant... one at a time, in 20 minute interviews, no matter how far away the applicant lived. I thought I was special for getting an interview, but I wasn't. At least the school in Chicago had a whole day planned for us - if you're going to make an interview mandatory for every single applicant, at least make it worth their time, you know?

#2: At the end of my interview in NYC, the woman said that she would let me know in 2-3 weeks, 3 weeks at the most. At that point I was like, wow, good thing I got my interview in before they made decisions. This weekend, I found out that they weren't finished interviewing there (because I met people who hadn't gone in for their interviews yet). Therefore, I came to the conclusion that I wasn't going to get into that school, because why would she promise to contact me before they'd even finished interviewing if they were planning on accepting me.

And then I came home to a letter from the school.

"I am sorry that your application was unsuccessful. I wish you luck in your future endeavors."

Excuse me? My application was not "unsuccessful." The application went through. The application was successful. You have rejected me. At least have the cojones to reject me without being passive-aggressive. What. Ever.

What REALLY pisses me off about this whole thing was that obviously they were going to reject me. They knew before I got there that they didn't want me in their school. I showed up, she took me in late, didn't apologize, wasn't interested in me, hadn't finished reading my application, didn't remember who I was. They didn't offer a tour of the campus, an outline of their program, or any specifics about anything at all. And Yet. They still decided it was worth it to waste my time and make me fly all the way up to New York just so they could confirm that they were going to reject me.

Anyway, at least that's over with. I'm going to try to focus on the positive experience I had at the school in Chicago.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Interview #2

I know I am probably giving myself away when I post about this interview to the very few people online who might be reading this who don't know who I am. However, I will post about the interview I had today at another potential grad school.

I think it went really, really well. It was one of those interviews where they do all this stuff all day and are watching you and taking notes, and then at the end they have a one-on-one where they talk about what you did during the day.

So first, after they took our pictures when we walked in and the general outline of the program at this school, we had to get up in front of everyone (there were about 40 people there + faculty) and present our slide when it showed up on the screen. Everyone was very nervous, which is good because I was nervous and I didn't want to be the only one. I think it went well. I talked about how my painting was about exploring what I looked like on the inside while I was going through this emotional soul-searching. I also talked about a particularly poignant experience I had last summer that was a pivotal moment in my journey towards deciding to pursue art therapy. Etc, etc.

Then we had a group artmaking project. This is how it went: We were arbitrarily made to sit at tables with about 10 other people. Then the coordinator said, "Okay, you have to do a group art project, there are supplies on your table. You have 20 minutes. And... GO!!!!!!" (literally, he screamed)

For a second we were all like, what? But then we got started. I knew they were observing us so I made sure to participate, I even came up with the suggestion that our group ended up using for our project. I worked cooperatively with another applicant in creating our section of the piece, and was integral to the functioning of the group (at least, I thought I was.. haha). I also reflected on our work as we went.

After the 20 minutes were up, we had to write a short reflection piece. I wrote about how it was an interesting experience to have to work together as a group and yet at the same time know that we were all competing for spots. And so on. I think I did a good job on the reflection piece. As you can tell, it doesn't seem to be very hard for me to write reflections on my day and work.

After a short presentation by current 2nd year students and lunch at Potbelly's, we went in for our individual interviews with faculty. By this time, the faculty member assigned to us had our picture (that had been taken that morning) in our file, with our records, and had read our reflection from the group artmaking project. They had also been the ones to observe us during the project and wrote notes about us then and also when we were presenting our slides.

My interview went smashingly, if I do say so myself. We basically just had a conversation, no real awkward call-and-response type of questioning. We talked about the folk art scene in my city (this faculty member also works for a folk art organization and is familiar with all the crazy stuff where I live, which was awesome and a great way to bond), we also talked about my Hebrew skizills, etc. I asked a few questions about the school and its philosophy, etc. I think it went really well.

After that was the marathon campus tour. The facilities here are amazing and I would love to take classes like book-making and weaving. Weaving! Like Medieval ladies!

During my time there, I met a lot of really great people, and am looking forward to possibly seeing many of them in my classes next year - a lot of them are applying to the same schools as me, so maybe if we don't get into this one we will get into another.

All in all, I left with an EXTREMELY positive feeling and I am excited to hear back. They said they would tell us by the end of March. Eee!!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Drippy drip drip

I didn't want to go to class today, but in the end I did and I made some cool stuff. I did some work on my Shabbat lamp, but since I'm unsure as to how that will turn out I will wait until stage 2 for photos. After I was finished setting up the lamp, I spent the rest of the time working on a couple of other topics/assignments. I didn't really know what to do, but earlier today I was talking about Louise Bourgeios, whom I love and was kind of obsessed with in college, and became inspired by the thoughts and came up with some interesting work.

Before I show you my work, I'll show you a couple of my favorite types of her work. She does a lot of weird, drippy, organic things (she does a lot of different styles of things but this is my favorite). It just looks so amazing.

How beautiful is that? Drippy drippy drip drip.

Here's another:

I just love the way it looks like it grew there, or spilled out of the wall.

So from thinking about these kinds of objects, I started to work on an assignment called "Off the Wall," where we have to make something that will ultimately be hung on the wall. This is what I've done so far:

Close up:

I'm thinking of making a few of these and hanging them on the wall, surrounded by wooden picture frames. It's just a design thing. I think it might look cool once it's glazed, right now it's kind of gross.

(Speaking of glaze, my glazed pots weren't fired so I don't have any pictures yet - they're waiting for the kiln to be full before they fire everything)

After making this, I still had some clay and time left over, so I started working on another piece for my "slab" assignment. I've done a few other pots for the slab assignment so I want to work on something that isn't supposed to be anything.

I like it. I had a leftover piece of slab sitting around from when I was working on the Shabbat lamp, so I wrapped it around a rolling pin to get the shape and added the drips. The texture came from rolling the clay on the slab roller in between two pieces of fabric. It's not easy to show what it looks like at the moment because of being placed carefully so that it will maintain its shape.

It was good that I went to class tonight. I realized that in the next two(ish) weeks, I have to get some assignments done. I haven't finished my Historic Piece project, or even started my Self Portrait, The Figure or Set of Goods pieces. Off the Wall isn't even assigned yet, but I had an idea and some leftover clay, so whatever.

I'll do some sketches while I am on the plane (I'm going to Chicago for the weekend for an interview) and hopefully I will be able to do at least one of those next week. I will be in the studio a lot next weekend working on everything. Ahh! So much work!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


I got an interview at my very, very top school!! Also in NYC. This interview is scheduled during my spring break, so I'll get to travel the east coast for a few days, too!

I'll also be going to Chicago for an interview this weekend. It's a group interview so it will be 7 hours long - 9am - 4pm. We'll have individual interviews, group interviews, I'll have to present a slide, we'll have campus tours, breakfast and lunch. It's going to be exhausting and very cold. I am excited about visiting Chicago - I've never been there before and I'll get to stay with my friend I met in Israel a year and a half ago!

Now I've been scheduled for 3 interviews (including the one I already had). I'm only waiting on two more schools. One school (in Boston) contacted me because they don't have all of my application (EEEEK), but it's rolling admission and apparently a lot of people are still in the middle of the application process, so it's not a big deal.

I am starting to feel better about this grad school thing - but only since getting that call... This morning was pretty bad, when I realized I had a problem with my transcripts and was freaking out. I thought that my application would be considered incomplete at every school, which was why I hadn't heard from anyone yet - and maybe it was too late to send things in, etc etc. Now I'm calming down. Calming! Down!

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Today was my first foray into the world of glazing. And after 3 hours in the studio of just glaze glaze glazing away, I am totally and completely exhausted. (No pictures yet, hopefully some pics of my finished pinch pots on Tuesday or Wednesday, when I see them after they've been fired)

My job with the pinch pots was to make use of as many glazes as possible so that I could see the kinds of things they do - also, I guess, to practice glazing on things I don't care very much about. I made a little organized chart in my sketchbook to keep track of everything I did. And as I'm sure you're all curious to know what the chart looks like, here it is:

Pot#Type of ClayGlaze/Technique
1Dillo WhiteOribe (inside); Winiker Blue
Dillo White
Tom's Copper Blue (inside); Tumoku
Dillo White
Rustile Green (inside); TC White
Dillo White
Rutile Blue (THICK inside); Celadon (leaked into inside!)
Dillo White
Dillo White
TX Blue Green
Oribe (inside); Temoku
Rustile Green (inside); Winiker Blue
Tom's Copper Blue (inside); Celadon
TC White
TX Blue Green
Oribe (inside); Celadon
TX Blue Green
Tom's Copper Blue (inside); Winiker Blue
Rutile Green (inside); Temoku

What does all of this mean, you ask. Also, the more astute readers will notice I only listed 19 pots, when the assignment was 20. WELL, one pot broke on the way to class the first day, it was very disappointing.

First, the types of clay:

Dillo White is a white clay that has lots of "grog" in it, which basically just means it has little rocks and sand in it. The rocks and sand create their own texture - they also make the clay more sturdy. So if I wanted to make something big and tall, I'd have to use clay with lots of grog in it or else it would fall over.

Balcones is a red clay that also has lots of grog in it.

Porcelain is a white clay with no grog, which means it's very smooth. It's really easy to work with for small things with lots of detail, but when it starts to get larger it will break or fall over if you aren't good at handling it. So far, the only things I've made with porcelain are pinch pots, since I am kind of afraid of it right now. When I get better at building I will probably start using more porcelain.

The glazes are separated into two categories in my head (simplified because that's how the teacher explained it to us in our 2 hour crash course last Thurs): Runny vs Not Runny.

Runny glazes have to be used very carefully because if they drip onto the kiln shelf then you have to buy a new kiln shelf. And by "you" I mean ME, and a kiln shelf costs at least $50 each. Eek. So for the pinch pots, all of the glazes that I labeled as being used "inside" of the pot are the runny glazes, so that when they run they will pool into the bottom of the pot, rather than drip off of the pot and on to the kiln shelf. The other glazes are Not Runny.

He didn't really explain what it meant when a glaze was runny other than, physically, it drips and runs. I don't exactly know why it does that. My best guess is that the metals in it are very susceptible to heat - for example, copper glazes are runny, and I assume copper in very high heat turns liquidy. This is the only explanation I can come up with.


One really annoying thing happened today while I was working in the glazing area. Glazes, in powder form, are very dangerous because they are heavy metals and can easily become floaty dust in the air. You're supposed to wear a dust mask when you're in the glazing area if you're using any powder (well, you're supposed to do it in general) - unfortunately I wasn't able to find a dust mask before today, but I figured, OK one time will be fine and anyway I'm not using powders.

Well. This guy decided he was going to mix a huge bucket of glaze from powder. So you know what he does? He gets a mountain of powder, dumps it in a bucket, then dumps in some water and uses a big power tool to mix the glaze. Fine, whatever, except that he decided to do this INSIDE, where other people were working. Of course, he protected himself by wearing a respirator mask (I don't know the real name, but it's like a gas mask but to keep dusty particles out). But he's working 2 feet from where I was standing, so obviously I was not protected.

I had to go and stand on the other side of the studio for probably 10 minutes while he did this. I was pretty annoyed. Nobody else seemed to mind, and when I came back and went to see if it bothered other people, another student was like, "eh, I have breathed in so much pollution in my life it probably doesn't make a difference." The main difference I see was that I have no idea what was in that powder that he was mixing, but there could have been heavy metals like lead, cobalt or copper. Nice.

I'm definitely going to find a dust mask by next week!

Thursday, February 14, 2008


I do take a lot of pictures of the trees on the university campus. I want to do something with this stuff later but for now, just the pictures.

No cropping or color editing was done.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

My trip to NYC

My last post, "Sleep In & Eat Pancakes," recalled the frustration that I felt about my trip to one of my top schools in NYC Monday. I was, in fact, in NYC for 32 hours. I flew across the country for that 20 minutes that I got at the school to interview for next year. And you can tell I was very frustrated.

However, the first half of my visit, where I was just hanging out with family, was very nice. I wish that I had gone to visit family and not gone to interview for grad school. I saw my aunts and my cousin and my grandma :) We went out to dinner and I got pizza, and then we got ice cream (even though it was about 20 degrees Fahrenheit). It was a good time.

Therefore, I need to clarify, if I hadn't had such a bad 20 minutes at the school, or maybe if I had been there for more than a few hours, the trip would have been all around great. I just wanted to make sure I didn't come off sounding like the whole trip was bad. It wasn't.

There. :)

Sleep In & Eat Pancakes

Or: My first graduate school interview.

Please excuse the profanity, I am tired and not happy.


Back and exhausted and I didn't study for my test on the plane because I was sad and frustrated and tired and just wanted to watch TV. And we sat on the runway for 40min waiting to take off, blah. So I got home later than I thought I would, and I am tired and the kitty is probably going to wake me up tons because I was gone and now I'm back (she does this).

Still sad. I wish I could take the day off tomorrow. Unfortunately I have that stupid exam I didn't study for. I wish, instead I could sleep and eat pancakes and watch more TV and snuggle on the couch and not move for a whole day. I am so travel weary it's ridiculous.

In the past two days I have been in at least 4 different cars, two shuttle vans, five trains and two airplanes. I have walked up and down countless steps carrying my suitcase. I have slept badly in at least 3 different places. I ate on the go 4 times. I ate so much junk food I don't even really want to think about it. I experienced a 50+ degree drop in temperature in 4 hours and I'm still cold, even though I'm back in the warmth again. I acquired some new zits.

All so I could spend 20 minutes in the office of the head of the art therapy department at one of my top schools, after being brought in 30min late, and she didn't even remember who I was and hadn't looked at half of my application. And none of what we talked about could not have been done on the phone. In fact, most of it was repeated from my information meeting I had with the SAME PERSON about six weeks ago. I got vague, crappy questions - was repeatedly asked why this school in particular was good for me - and received no follow-up questions to any of my answers. No real interest in who I was.

I know that in essence I only spent around $30 on this trip because I used air miles to buy my plane ticket and my aunts and cousins paid for most of my food. However, those air miles could have been used for something more fun and worthwhile.

Also, I came out of this with a huge sense of disillusionment. Shouldn't grad schools be courting students they like? Shouldn't they at least respect the fact that I traveled almost 4,000 miles in 36 hours for a minute of their time?? Maybe offer to show me around?? Or at least pretend like they're interested in me and that my time and effort was worth it????

And I was thinking, what if I don't get into grad school? This seems like a very real possibility now. All this time I'd been so optimistic, like I was going to get into two or three schools and I'd have to make that tough choice. But now I feel really shitty about myself, like I'm not a very good candidate and maybe I'll get passed up at every school because they didn't finish reading my application to see that I'm doing the prerequisites right now. What if I don't get in? And I'll be moving away from here, now that I have friends here, to another city, and starting over again but not having anything set in place for me? Again having to find a job not knowing what kind of thing I'll be able to do, just trying to do something that's vaguely interesting for the meanwhile so I can try again? Or maybe give up and not try again.

Just thinking about all of this is overwhelming and makes me not want to move. On the plane I watched TV because I knew if I tried to study I would just keep thinking about how I feel like I am a shitty candidate for grad school and wouldn't get anything done, other than maybe crying. You know I'm taking these psych classes and ceramics class so I can get into grad school. It wouldn't be a waste of time having taken them even if I don't get in because learning is good in general, but it would kind of feel like it. Like, I don't have a job right now, I'm just taking these classes, I am just spending money and bringing in zero dollars every month. I don't want to be spending my savings only to not achieve my goal.

I feel soooooooooo crappy right now. And the kitty is impatient and I have to medicate the pig and really I just want to sleep in and eat pancakes.
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