I've spent the week catching up of reading while proctoring the CSAP, our state assessment in Colorado. I subscribed to Drawing magazine last year, and was not impressed with the price, but the content seemed to be high. I don't always get past looking at the pics when the magazine comes. Usually I'm busy not grading assignments or not working on my own art. Turns out, to be a fantastic grouping of articles describing technique and displaying some technical masters in drawing. I also read all the way through a Ceramics Monthly and a Pottery Making Illustrated. I subscribed to both of them because I know so little about ceramics, and have had to start teaching it this year. I finally ran out of ideas, and needed a more constant source of quality images to inspire my teaching. I found a wonderful article in this month's Ceramics Monthly. An instructor described how he graded his students, and also the critique technique he uses. I have some more studying to do, but I think I will implement this style in all of my upper level classes, and set my entry level classes up with preparatory info. You know it is one thing to make art, and even identify great art, but to teach someone else identify greatness in their own art can be a real challenge. Mark Leuthold and Sarah Wilkins suggest three elements of grading.
Focus - Was the assigned problem solved?
Craftsmanship - Was it well made? Does it appear finished?
Engage the Viewer - Will anyone remember your piece tomorrow?
I have too often confused the last two or the first two. This has made it hard for students to understand what I was expecting of them. I think students also often expect the first point to accomplish the third point. If their project doesn't snap, it must be the fault of the assignment.
I also learned that laser printed decals can survive a kiln firing, and will act as glaze elements. This means that I can transfer my work to plates, vessels, etc. I'm inspired to make stuff now.