The Student Became The Teacher | Molly Sanyour | Episode 320

Molly Sanyour | Episode 320

Molly Sanyour picked up wheel throwing in her junior year in college and Molly hasn’t stopped since. Molly’s current job, teaching high school ceramics, allows her the opportunity to constantly explore new ways of creating with clay and she just loves it! It was until this job, and teaching beginners, that Molly really began to thrive as an artist.



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You are working with students all the time. How do students inspire your creativity?

They inspire my creativity because when I do something that I am excited about then I see that they will do the same thing. Then I have to challenge myself:  Ok everybody is doing that, what am I going to do to be different now? So it always pushing me to constantly improve.

When you look at your students what kind of things do you hope they catch from you? Besides just making pots, what kind of qualities would you like them to catch?

So I believe in vision boards and kind of dreaming big and follow your passion, whether it’s ceramics or not. I make them always use a sketchbook. So any technique we are learning they have to pick an image. They have to have images and hand written reflections on every page. So they find when they actually get that image say for that slab project: this is what I want to make and it’s there (in the sketchbook) .  The chance of them making that image come to life is through the roof. They do it with no problem. It’s a whole lesson on, if you can see it then you can achieve it.

What is one of the mistakes that you see your students repeatedly make?

I don’t think I could name one. There are so many, I mean from the bat flying off the wheel because it just wasn’t put on the right way or clay flying off because there is water between the bat and the clay. Or they have their elbows in the air. You can’t do anything with your elbows in the air, they have to be anchored. Or the wheel is going too fast and just spinning and then the clay rips off or squeezing the clay too hard when it should have been relaxed. No compressing their lip soon enough so it starts to split across. I see it all.

If there is one thing that you would like your students to always remember when working with clay, what is that one thing? 

Compress. Compress. Compress. With a rib up the side of a cylinder before you shape it, the bottom, the lip. Compress.

You mentioned your friend a bit during our interview. How important is comradery in a job? 

Oh my gosh, I went from being the only art teacher to now one of five. Having someone who shares my passion, she’s been doing it for years longer than me so she is so knowledgeable. The fact that I have somebody to talk shop with and kind of ask a question and not be judged and supported. We explore things and get excited and have similar interests. It’s fun. I am just so lucky to be where I am.


How important are sales for you when you already have a good solid income?

As a teacher we are not paid enough. In my experience I always needed a second job. So about five years that was waiting tables every Sunday and Monday night. That was long hours and wasn’t my passion even though it was fun and I still do miss it sometimes. They clay was always my passion so if I could do it, also when you are teaching and making it accumulates and people want some. I thought, this could be my second job. So now that I am in control of it there is really no limit. When you wait tables you can only work so many hours in a week, but now I can push myself to whatever limits it want.

How are you marketing yourself?

I guess through Instagram. I like to like other people’s things and ask questions and kind of be a contributing member as best I can.

You said you love to travel. Tell me your favorite traveling story.

My favorite traveling story was two summers ago. I booked a trip to Asia by myself. It was the first time I ever went to Asia. A friend of mine, whom I have traveled with, she’s a teacher, she had booked an around the world trip. Where she went from city to city around the world. I caught on her trip in Vietnam. Prior to Vietnam I went a week earlier. I had a free week and I didn’t want to go all the way to Asia and have only have two weeks. So I took three weeks in Asia and the first week I was by myself in Bangkok. When I was in a hotel room my phone dies. I thought:  I am so disconnected and I don’t know how to get to my flight tomorrow. I don’t know how to meet my friend. I don’t know anything. I can’t tell my mom I’m OK.  I told the front office lady and she said there were phone places everywhere by the mall. So I go to the mall and they have already shut down. So I get a cab back to my hotel and the next morning I make it to my flight and the cab driver took me to a phone place. Five dollars later they just  switched my battery out . It was like, why did you freak out so much about your phone. It was really not a big deal at all. Because I got through that, I can make it through anything.


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