Paul Soldner - the Teacher

Between his arrival at Scripps in 1956, to his retirement in 1992, Soldner taught three types of students: undergraduates from Scripps, Pitzer, Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd, and Pomona Colleges; graduate students from Claremont Graduate School; and special students, who have come from France, Germany, Switzerland, and Japan as well as the United States. Soldner also has taught thousands more in the innumerable demonstrations and workshops he has given throughout the last three decades, both in this country and abroad.

 

The many students who came to Scripps found in Soldner an artist who was nationally acknowledged but personally accessible, a teacher whose ideas were definite but not doctrinaire. Finally, Soldner has broadened his students' perspective by teaching contemporary ceramics through discussions of work in the Marer Collection - one of the finest ensembles of contemporary American ceramics - which Soldner helped bring to Scripps. But more than Soldner's curriculum, it has been his method that has produced outstanding artists. He teaches not by rule but by example. At Scripps, Soldner based his own teaching methods on actual experience, not abstract theory. Unlike artists who demonstrate in class but do their own work elsewhere, Soldner merged the class and the studio. As a resut, students saw his methods of hand building sculpture or throwing pots on the wheel as effective techniques, not as isolated exercises.

 

 

Excerpts from "Soldner: the Teacher" by Mary Davis MacNaughton, in Paul Solder: A Retrospective, 1991.