[Clayart] Gail/Colleen/long story
melpots at mail.com
Sun Feb 5 03:31:57 UTC 2023
Colleen came to me 11 years ago. She was a drop out of college
and almost ready to do herself in.
Her family was dear friends, all from Hopkins and her grandpa
taught with me. She refused to do vagina pots and obscene art with metaphore.
they would not let her do wheel work as it was vo-tech. A painting teacher
was not appropriate. She was pissed.
She packed up and went home. went to her room and would not come out.
they took her to a psychiatrist and they were all worried.
Grandpa said. "Just give her to Mel, he will find a way."
they came to my living room Colleen, and her Dad.
I finally said in a loud voice. "Colleen, what do you want?"
She looked at me and said. "I wanna make pots on a wheel, paint and draw
like you do!"
I wanted an 18 year old girl in my studio esp with `issues` like the plague.
So I tested her after showing her some simple problems on the wheel.
her pots were as good as mine. She was a natural, and the best student I have
ever had. I kept her. My wife monitored us in the studio. And Colleen bonded
with Sharlene. She found what she was seeking. Honest hard work, a place to be herself
and people around her that thought they way she did. She is a person of value.
She became a lovely, talented, ideal craftswomen. As I live here in the woods in Wisconsin
she runs our pottery in Minnetonka. Her presence is perfect.
You will have to read the book, at least the first 25 pages. It is her story and then I use
the theme of her story and her life next to me, and that is a vehicle for me to write my own
story of my life as a potter, telling all the stories that Colleen lived with.
I dedicated the book to my new great great grandson, Melvin Richards, age 1
I hope he reads this book at 35, and will have comparisons to his own life. good or bad.
A thumb drive with the book on it, will be placed in a water proof container and be buried at
the bottom of my fire proof safe. I tell people that at 88 I want all issues taken care of.
I want to leave things to my grandchildren..good pots, paintings and an attitude of hard work, dedication
to helping others and find contentment in their own life. If you do not write the stories in your own
hand, they will never know what value came from our being.
It is poetic that Colleen's college was the UofM, Duluth. The board of regents dropped the entire art
curriculum, fired all the profs and kept three on hand to teach "recreational art." At the time
I was quoted as saying "they committed suicide and were to dumb to know why." As tenured professors
they had the right to demand obscene "smart" art. And the board of regents had the right to drop the program.
Collen and I went back to college. The U of M, main campus/ She majored in art, with a clay specialty.
We used the "British Method". Making fun of them without them knowing. She was armed with a great many tools
and confidence. She was the star of the art department. She went to school with no tatoos, no piercing, wore
good make-up and made the best stuff you ever saw. She made a family portrait. Hand built and she asked the
prof what clay to use for hand building and he said. "clay is clay, use whatever we have in boxes". Her print teacher'
told the kids to go to u-tube and they would find out how to print. He never gave a demo.
Her Portrait was a group of slab pots 4 feet tall. And we came up with the idea of cheo.pets. Grass and plant
life coming out of their heads. Colleen and her mom wrote the most hilarous paper I have ever read. Then she told
the prof she wanted to "salt fire her family". He said the kiln was broken and did work. So, without direction
or professional guidance she fired the salt kiln to perfection. I talked to through the firing with phones. She
added about 15 lbs of salt. The used one cup. She fired to cone 11, they fired to cone 9. It was said that she fixed
the salt kiln. Her family went on boxes into the main lobby of the Warren MacKenzie memorial building, and not teachers throwing.
mel I will put a picture on the clayart website, Colleen's family, salt glaze, cone 11.
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