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Mel Jacobson Workshop

Throwing Stories - 2005

Mel Jacobson has spent a lifetime with clay...as a professional potter, as an educator in Minnesota and the Middle East, as a writer, as an apprentice in Japan, and as the moderator of the largest clay arts discussion group in the world.

Mel will do a multiple level throwing workshop with emphasis on learning to throw the "repeated form". Japanese hump throwing is taught, along with using many kinds of measuring devices.

Those that have never thrown anything larger than three pounds will be excited to see how anyone can throw 25 pounds. He will also make a teapot the size of a walnut.

The audience will be encouraged to ask questions, show their own work for critique and discuss any problems in clay. In most cases, Mel can teach the full circle of clay. The workshop will be fun, fast paced and non-threatening.

We are looking forward to a weekend of Mel's stories and pots with a lively audience-directed chat. Mel is an amazing resource and inspiring teacher...so bring your questions, problems, and challenges and enjoy the ride!

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Artist talk w/slides
February 25, 2005, 7:00 pm
Free to the public
Two day Workshop
Demonstration February 26-27, 2005
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
This workshop has passed and is no longer available.  Check out some of our Upcoming Workshops

Mel Jacobson Biography

Mel is a product of the Minneapolis public school system graduating from old West high school. His education was continued at Hamline University, St. Paul, MN. He played football and was on the swim team. He transferred to the University of Minnesota and majored in sociology and philosophy. Switching majors in his senior year brought him to art. He graduated from the University with a degree in Art Education in 1958. His Masters Degree was completed in 1961 and he has completed a 90 credit studio study in painting at the U.of Minnesota.

His teaching career began in Ely, MN. He returned to the twin cities and began teaching in Hopkins, a fine suburban school district with a superb national reputation for excellence. He built his program into one of the finest high school ceramics programs in the nation. He was named one of the outstanding ceramic educators in America by New York University and Studio Potter magazine. He retired from Hopkins in 1993 after 34 years of teaching.. His career was concluded by teaching 6 classes of ceramics a day attended by 185 students. He also extended his teaching day into the evenings by having two of his advanced classes meeting from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. two nights per week.

A year and half apprenticeship to the studio of Kunio Uchida, master potter of Kyoto, Japan was undertaken in the early seventies. This experience was followed by 7 solo exhibits in Japan, including the American Embassy, and Matsuya gallery, Ginza, Tokyo.

The nineteen eighties were marked by three trips to the Persian Gulf states of Dubai, and Abhu Dahbi where Mel helped establish an art school for expatriate oil families. Several solo exhibits were held at the Dubai art center.

Mel has been an adjunct professor of art for the University of Wisconsin system for 16 years. Teaching at the Pigeon Lake summer art camp was the start of his ideas for adult shared learning. This program has now flourished as his Hay Creek Studio camp at his farm in Wisconsin. As director, he has made a place for professional artists and teachers to gather each summer and share ideas in art, ceramics, craft and theory. The facility has a dorm, pottery with 7 kilns, wood shop, metals studio including a blacksmithing facility, and other studios for calligraphy, sewing and painting. All teaching is done by the attending artists.

Mel has traveled the world extensively. Many trips to Europe and Asia, including Australia, Egypt, India, Shri Lanka, Central America and of course the Persian Gulf.

A full time studio is maintained in Minnetonka, MN. He fires a 45 cubic foot "Minnesota Flat Top" kiln using traditional functional forms and glazes at stoneware temperatures. Sales are held at the studio several times each year. Mel continues to make pots and paint at a steady rate and does custom work for churches and private collectors.

The late nineties has led him to doing workshops around the United States, including Dallas, Charleston, St. Petersburg , Phoenix, San Fransisco, San Diego, Appalachian Center for the Crafts and Denver. The spring of 2,000 found him at the Southern Clay Conference as a principal presenter. He has given a topical discussion at the National Council for the Education of Ceramic Arts. Teaching trips to New Mexico, Cincinnati, Ohio..(Annie'sMudPieShop) in 2002 were preceded by a presentation at the American Ceramics Society.

Mel has been featured in the December, 1997 Ceramics Monthly magazine. He is pictured on the cover, and includes an 8 page story with 10 photos of his work.

A New kiln design using ITC coatings and modules is the topic for an article running in the December, 1998 Ceramics Monthly and December 1999 he has an article on Susan Karrasch. Articles have appeared in Clay Times (3) and the Journal of the American Art Pottery Assoc. He also writes for Pottery Making Illustrated.(8)

The new century finds Mel directing and moderating the world's largest ceramic online listserv called "CLAYART". This discussion group is made up of over 3,000 potters and clay enthusiasts from 89 countries around the world.

The Minnetonka Center for the Arts, one of Minnesota's oldest art centers has named Mel to it's board of directors.

Pottery Making Illustrated ran a cover story written by Mel on the technique of Japanese hump throwing in its Fall, 2000 issue New articles appeared in Ceramics Monthly for December 2000 "Black Shino" and Claytimes/"Collaboration" fall 2000. An article on the work and life of Kevin Caufield appeared April of 2002, Ceramics Monthly. A major article on his study with Joe Koons of Jian Chinese glazes will appear Spring, 2005 in Ceramics Monthly magazine. The American Museum of Ceramic Art (AMOCA) will host an international exhibition of the new works, May 2005.