Monday, September 28, 2009

Instructor Introduction: Marjorie Woodruff

How long have you been working with clay and how did you get started?
I started seriously working in clay at Northern Illinois University when I was 19 and haven't stopped.

What are your influences, both inside and outside of the clay world?
"Free Jazz" music -- going to hear music live and Labor History students in graduate school who opened my eyes to labor history in our country and the world -- both of these influences have greatly influenced my life and my work.

Do you sell your work? If so, how can one find it?
I have work for sale at Woman Made Gallery, Artisan Gallery ( and I will be including work on the Etsy Web site this fall.

I periodicaly do art fairs and just had a solo show at Woman Made Gallery called Rack and Ruin. ( I sold a number of pieces.

What advice can you give to students of the ceramic arts?
Advice to students... explore and try lots of things, get comfortable with the clay as a material. Begin setting some personal goals for what it is they want to achieve... such as for our beg/intermediate handbuilding class... some students have expressed that they are there to relax and have fun, others have very specific goals -- either technical or very personal expressive goals, or to just create objects to give as gifts that they have personally created. So... by talking with people, knowing their goals, as a group class we adjust what we focus on each 10 week session surrounding the basic handbuilding construction techniques. Thus each class begins to have specific slant depending on needs and wants of students in class. Students end up influencing each other as well which is great to watch and observe as a teacher.

How do you spend your time when not working with clay?
Outside of clay, I garden and cook, go hiking and camping out west on the Mississippi River, bird watch, thrift for old interesting objects. Plus just bought a new used bicycle at Working Bikes Co-op (great not-for-profit place that gives bikes away around the world -- ... so I am biking more again and hope to lose some pounds as well! Last of all, I am the Membership Secretary for our part-time union at City Colleges of Chicago called CCCLOC that is part of IEA (Illinois Education Assoc). We just were able to form a new region just for Higher Ed in the Chicago area that includes Columbia College, United Staff of Columbia College,Triton, Roosevelt and our City College union. So it is exciting times for unions! I am passionate about this work because it is about learning how to become an active citizen.

Any parting words?
Enjoy... life is shorter than you think!


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