|Thursday, June 19, 2003|
I filled out a questionnaire to help children learn about art/artists/ceramicists. I think it was a valuable exercise:
1. Name: John Norris
2. Studio/Location: Oregon, USA. As well as the Internet (john-norris.net)
3. Website: john-norris.net
4. Address: john@_no spam_john-norris.net
5. What were your art experiences as a child?
My parents enjoyed art and craft. They kept me in a steady supply of paper, pencils, crayons, etc... One of my favorite things to draw were machines and how the parts related to each other.
6. Did you work with clay when you were in school?
One of my early teachers had us do hand prints out of clay...I still have a small piece from the original that broke, with my small finger depressions. It makes me smile to look at it, and is by similar pieces from my own children. The next clay piece I remember was a small pitcher I made in the 5th grade. Other than that, it was not until post-secondary when I started working in clay.
7. What was the first clay piece you remember making?
The hand print described above...maybe 1-2 grade?
8. What other jobs have you had?
My art does not support me, so I have had quite a few jobs, including inspecting gopher traps, filling pillows with feathers, teaching as a grad student in a university, managing the technical processes for a customer service organization.
9. Were your parents supportive of your becoming a potter?
Yes. They gave me the freedom to pursue my interests (although I'm sure it worried them!)
10. What type of ceramic work do you create?
Currently, conceptual as well as pit fired pieces (you can see both on my web site.) I have also enjoyed doing salt-fired and multimedia pieces featuring copper work.
11. How would you describe your ceramic work in 5 WORDS?
Interesting containers that also surprise.
12. What THREE THINGS would you tell children to remember when working with clay?
1. Have fun. (It shows in your work.)
13. What's the most difficult part of working with clay?
As with any art, or life itself, the most difficult thing is how to make a piece better. Often the improvement is obvious and the difficulty is just putting the energy into making a change. Other times it is difficult to figure out how to improve, one just knows that something is not right. Then there are the times when one thinks things are OK, and it takes someone else to point out improvements to be made. That maybe the toughest lesson, but it is where you learn the most.
14. If you were going to teach a clay lesson to children, what would you have them make?
Hmmm...just one lesson?...
Hmmm...I might change the last project so that everyone made a bunch of their own type of beads, and then everyone would get a class necklace with each other's beads.
In case anyone is interested, I also have handouts from some of the lessons I have taught.