Work Exchange at Clay Studio Helps Recent Graduates

dtang - sam fritch (2)

Photo from Duc Tang’s BFA thesis show “My Fair Potter,” Winter 2011. Photo Credit: Sam Fritch.

Duc Tang graduated from Tyler last May. He is currently working with the Clay Studio in Old City as part of a Work Exchange program.

“I met Jennifer Martin, who is the vice president of the Clay Studio, when she visited Tyler to give a lecture and demo,” Tang said. “She talked about the Clay Studio, its missions and different programs. One of the things she talked about was the Work Exchange program, designed for newly college graduates and others who demonstrated a keen interest in ceramics. I applied for the program in my last semester of college and have been with the studio up until now.”

In the Work Exchange Program, Tang is given studio space to work in, as well as materials, firings, critiques, and development opportunities to aid him in his goals as an artist. In exchange for all of this, Work Exchange individuals provide 40 hours a month of support and is responsible for tasks needed to maintain the ceramics studio.

Some of these tasks include studio maintenance, customer service, assisting special events, glaze preparations, kiln operation, teaching, community outreach, gallery experience, and sales.

“We do everything that will keep the studio up and running. Usually there are two of us working together on our work day, if we’re lucky we’ll get an intern or two to help,” Tang said. “It’s pretty much everything we would do if we had our own studio but probably with less cleaning and people running around.”

With the help of the Clay Studio, Tang is able to produce work that he sells locally at the Art Star craft shows.

“I have a place to make work and access to equipment that I would not be able to afford anytime soon,” Tang said. “With so many artists gathered in one place it is really easy to get feedback about your work. Something that I heard was very hard to come by once you’re out of art school.”

Having this opportunity has really helped Tang get started as a ceramic artist.

“I am very much a romantic, ” Tang said. “In a world where many are content with using throw aways and mass-produced tableware, I want to sit down and make them. I hope to someday open my own pottery. People say that it’s not going to be easy and I do believe it to be true. But whenever I hear how much someone enjoys using my pots it fuels my dream and I believe a little more that it is possible. Besides, there is nothing else that I would rather be doing.”

For more about the Work Exchange at the Clay Studio visit

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