This ceramic-based apprenticeship will focus on apprentice artist Rachel Herzer’s goals to further build upon her technical skills, surface and chemistry exploration, and honing in on studio production systems. Rachel will develop her studio practice by implementing a more sustainable production system with greater consistency and workflow management, while diving into glaze formulation with chemistry and troubleshooting, and creating the time, space and feedback needed to refine her current range of work through extensive mentorship. She will accomplish this through 100 hours of guidance with mentor artist Tyler Gulden spent together in Tyler’s Walpole studio, alongside field trips and occasionally working together at Rachel’s current studio at Running With Scissors in Portland, Maine.
Tyler Gulden (Walpole, ME)
Tyler Gulden received a BFA from Alfred University and a MFA from University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and has been a studio potter for 25 years.
Tyler’s first work experience with a professional artist came in 1989 through an internship with Leon Nigrosh where Tyler discovered firsthand the concept that the “job” of being a potter was a lifestyle choice rather than that of a profession. Tyler says of his experience, “Leon seamlessly wore the hats of potter, professor, author, mentor, father.
There was obvious and immense satisfaction in Leon’s face as he worked – effortlessly contagious in my own life and development as a potter.”
A second opportunity to apprentice with an artist came in 1995 with Chris Gustin. During this time Tyler worked in tile production, the construction of Gustin’s multi-chamber wood kiln, and assisted with studio work, forging a relationship that grew through graduate school and has continued in Tyler’s professional career. Tyler says, “Honest, frank discussions – both personal and professional – peppered with good stories and hearty laughs,” are at the heart of their relationship.
Tyler maintains an active professional life within and without his studio – traveling extensively to build kilns for private and institutional clients; conducting workshops, lectures and demonstrations at art centers and schools around New England; selling and exhibiting his functional porcelain and stoneware pieces nationally and internationally; is a former director of Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, Adjunct Instructor of Art at Southern Maine Community College, and past board member and President of the Maine Crafts Association
“Rachel is a former student of mine from Portland Pottery. We have continued a professional relationship centered around ceramics – Rachel soda firing at my studio, as well as working together informally at the studio and sharing information about clay and glaze issues/challenges she is pursuing in her own studio. I choose to work with Rachel because she is a great person with deep commitment to her work and a strong work ethic.“ – Tyler Gulden
Rachel Herzer (Freeport, ME)
Rachel Herzer is a ceramicist, painter, and musician living and working in Portland, Maine. A childhood spent in the forests and fields of Michigan, filled with creativity, drawing and music, informs the dual passions of her life: teaching and making. Rachel spends her mornings either at the easel or in the ceramic studio, throwing and pinching both stoneware and porcelain, making tableware and planters, and her afternoons as a teacher, committed to passing on the life-enriching experiences of childhood artistic pursuits. A graduate of both the School of Music and the Frostic School of Art at Western Michigan University, Rachel holds a BA in Music and a BFA in Painting. After falling in love with clay during her last few semesters of art school, Rachel has spent her post-graduate years continuing to pursue her passion for clay. Her work has been supported by grants and residencies such as the Kalamazoo Artist Development Initiative Grant, the Arts Fund Award for Individual Artist, the Vermont Studio Center and the Gold Museum in Jinguashi, Taiwan and has been exhibited in Malaysia, South Korea, and Taiwan.
“Tyler Gulden has been a teacher and a mentor since my first pottery classes in Maine. I admire his depth of knowledge in the field of ceramics as well as the way he constantly questions his medium – innovating firing methods, finessing surface quality and chemistry, and diving into complex experiments. His excitement to teach is apparent – he enjoys the collaborative process of working alongside students during the learning process..” – Rachel Herzer