Chris Pickett | Episode 831
Chris received his BFA from the University of Tennessee and his MFA from the University of Florida. Chris served as a long term Resident Fellow at the Archie Bray Foundation from 2012 to 2014. Chris currently resides in Pocatello, Idaho, and serves as an Assistant Professor at Idaho State University.
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Why School when there are so many outlets out there? What does school bring that YouTube doesn’t?
Connection. That would be the thing that I would say the most. YouTube is a one way street. The relationship that I have with my students, if that interaction was just a series of videos I don’t think…yeah, it’s just connection. The YouTube video has no idea what is going on in your life.
How did you cope during the pandemic when the professors and the students had to go to video?
Well thankfully Ceramic Materials Workshop. They were very generous. They opened up the The Amazing Glaze, that was a very generous thing to do and it was a life saver because when people sign up they want to take ceramics they don’t want busy work. That was something that was very valuable. I learned a lot actually.
Why have you decided to dedicate your life to teaching? What does that do for you intrinsically or in your soul?
Wow, that’s a heavy one, Paul. For the most part I do like to give, like I make things for people, it’s just something I do. I don’t know, it’s nice if that’s something that you need to do. And if it works out if that’s part of your profession, it works out dandy, you know. It works well because it’s something I want to do and it’s fulfilling to me. That sounds very selfish but you know what I mean.
Not everyone is meant to be a teacher. I don’t even know if I am but here we are.
How do you know when a student just needs encouragement instead of a nudge toward the door?
I am actually going to answer this question with a quote. I had one of the best role models ever, Linda Arbuckle. She is an amazing human being. One of the things I remember most that she said was, At the end of the day would you rather err on the side of being generous or err on the side of being a hard ass?
Sometimes you will see a student with that certain spark. How much of that spark is just dedicated work ethic as opposed to a natural talent that just oozes out of them?
I think that’s one of those questions that has a lot of layers there. Certainly. Yes. That’s the answer. (laughter) All of that. It’s just like anything else, you have to work on it.
What is something you wish you would have learned from Linda Arbuckle?
Kindness. She is just so kind. She is very attentive. She cares about her students and knows what’s going on. You ever talk to someone and they are completely focused on you and you have their undivided attention? She was a very busy woman but when we had those studio visits she was there 100 percent for you.