Now, had this quiz been about ceramics, I'm sure I would have scored quite high. Do you know the difference between earthenware and stoneware? Yes! Earthenware and fire clay? Yes! Do you have a strong opinion on how to fire a kiln. Absolutely! So, the question is, am I a clay snob? Well, I think that anyone who is truly passionate about something and who has accumulated a lot of knowledge about a certain subject definitely develops strong preferences and opinions. Does that make that person a snob about that subject? Maybe. At the same time, I recognize that there are far greater experts in the field than myself and I welcome the opportunity to learn from them. And every "expert" that I know has told me that they are still learning things.
I am currently at the point in my ceramics career where I am trying to develop my own niche of expertise both in technique and in style. This emphasis certainly effects my view of art and creativity. As an instructor I often have people asking my opinion of what they are making and, I must admit, I do find myself giving advice on the student's project that is in line with the projects that I am currently working on. I suppose that this is, in many ways, impossible to avoid simply because this is the way that my brain is thinking at the time. I wonder if it is truly possible to provide a critique of someone else's work without allowing one's own preferences to come into play? I suppose this is something that I will discover as I get farther into the field of teaching, but, perhaps, simply being aware that my own preferences and experiences are coming into my perception of someone else's work is a good place to start to provide some non-clay snob feedback. I am also aware that one of the things that a student is looking for by asking my opinion of their work is an honest assessment of their work based upon my own experience, so I shouldn't completely discount that aspect either.
We say that the more you learn, the less you know, and I am certainly finding that to be true as I make this MFA journey.