I received my B.S. in Studio Art, with a major in ceramics from Skidmore College, and my M.F.A. in Painting/ Ceramics from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I spent several years as a studio potter at the Creative Arts Workshop in New Haven way back in the late 1980's, early 1990's.... I am currently the owner, and full time potter at Essex Pottery, in Essex, CT, where I have my studio and retail gallery. As a practicing full time potter, I have to strike a balance between functional pottery, pottery most likely to sell in a reasonable time, and nonfunctional pottery, more interesting, creative and fun but more likely to gather dust on the shelf. Most students have an advantage in that they can work in clay without financial concerns and concentrate on their work and not its marketability. I encourage budding ceramicists to take advantage of their opportunities and create outside the box while they have the chance. Basically, forget convention and if they have some crazy, outlandish or unconventional ideas… just go for it.