Sylvia Rosen is part of the Living Legacy Project at the Burchfield Penney Art Center. Click here to listen to her artist interview or read the transcription below.
Sylvia Rosen is a ceramic artist, educator, and philanthropist. Born in Ohio in 1919, she was the daughter and granddaughter of artists, a family heritage which influenced her choice to study Fine Arts at Ohio State University in Columbus. In a 1990 lecture, Rosen recalled how she move from a more general course of study to the medium that would become the central focus of her career: “While an undergraduate … taking the usual courses of drawing, painting, and sculpturing [sic], I wandered downstairs of Hayes Hall, the fine arts building, to discover a whole new world. There were a number of display cases filled with beautiful ceramics. There were porcelains from China in many colors, celadons from Korea, hand painted urns from Greece, teapots from Japan, and other ceramics from many other cultures. I was so enthralled that I ventured further into the classrooms to find students working on potters’ wheels, spraying glazing and loading kilns for firing. This was the beginning of my long lasting love affair with clay.” 
Among Rosen’s professors was the noted chemist and potter, Dr. Arthur Baggs. She graduated with a B.S. in education from the university in 1941 and shortly thereafter married Nathan Rosen, a lawyer. The young couple moved to Cleveland the same year, where she studied at the Esther & John Sills Ceramic Studio. In 1943 they moved to Buffalo.
Rosen’s early attempts to establish a career as a craft artist often proved frustrating. In a 2004 interview, she recalled, “My ceramics were shown two years in a row [1943-44] in the May Show, which is still running to this day, at the Cleveland Museum of Art. There were no categories, no distinctions between crafts and fine art. It was the atmosphere that I was used to. … I went to the Albright-Knox [Art Gallery] to see about entering the Western New York Exhibition and was told, ‘We do not take ceramics. Or any other crafts.’ … The assumption must have been that we were all making potholders.”  In spite of such difficulties getting fine art institutions to acknowledge the significance of crafts, Rosen persisted, and in 1961 she received a Certificate of Merit for her work in New York Crafts 1961 at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute in Utica, N.Y.
From 1963 through 1967 Rosen taught at the Creative Craft Center at the University at Buffalo, an organization she helped to establish. This was her first position as a teacher of ceramics, and through the Center she as exposed to other craft media--including enameling, jewelry making, and weaving—and to other artists and teachers, including enamellist Bill Helwig.  During this period, Rosen later recalled, “It was no easy thing for a woman to keep house, cook, be a mother, and do what she [wanted] to do.” Aware that her husband would not approve of her leaving their home to teach, she opted to work at the Center between the hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., when her husband was always in his own office. “I hired a woman to come in and do the housework. Then before I left to teach I would put an apple and an onion in the oven and put it on low.” The aroma was a ruse to convince Nathan that she had been maintaining her domestic duties in his absence. 
In 1968, Rosen began teaching a special program in ceramics for students at Amherst Senior High School (Amherst, N.Y.) who had poor academic records. She remained at the school until 1970 while also pursuing her M.S. in Education from Buffalo State College, a degree that was conferred in 1971. For the remainder of the decade, she taught in the college’s design department. Her “Workshop in Crafts” class introduced students to hand-built ceramics, frame-woven tapestries, hooked rugs, batik, and other materials.
Nonetheless, the local climate for craftspeople remained dire: “We had the Buffalo Craftsmen from Buffalo State who showed in different venues around the city, sometimes in unused storefronts,” she later recalled. “After they went out in the 70s, craft artists had nowhere to go other than the 100 American Craftsmen,” referring to the annual exhibition at the Kenan Center in nearby Lockport, N.Y.  Rosen and her husband were frequent world travelers, and were very aware that museums in other countries were more hospitable to pottery, jewelry, and related forms. “We wanted craft artists to have a museum setting in which to show their work.” 
In 1987, the Rosens founded the Sylvia Rosen Endowment for Fine Arts in the Craft Media. The endowment has made possible juried biennial craft art exhibitions with purchase awards and craft art lectures by field specialists. The first exhibition took place at the Burchfield-Penney Art Center in 1988. Since then, Craft Art Western New York has come to be recognized as a significant celebration of the diversity and richness of expression of the region’s craft artists working with clay, fiber, glass, metal, and wood.
Rosen’s work has been included in many exhibitions over several decades, including the Cleveland Museum of Art (1943); the Buffalo Craftsmen Exhibition (1957-70); the Albright–Knox Members Gallery (1962); Art Today 1967, New York State Council on the Arts, New York State Fair; the Buffalo State College 125th Anniversary Exhibition (1996); the Contemporary New York State Crafts Exhibition (1997); the Ohio State Alumni Reunion Exhibition (1999); New York Collects Buffalo State, Burchfield-Penney Art Center (2004); and Daemen College (2005). She is in the collections of the Burchfield-Penney; the Arthur E. Baggs Museum at Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio; and the Schein-Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art at Alfred University, Alfred, New York. She continues to pursue ceramics study and work at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida. 
Rosen received the Distinguished Alumni Leadership Award in 1991 and the Individual Philanthropic Leadership Award in 2000, both from the Buffalo State College Foundation. She has also received the Endowment Development Award from the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies and the National Philanthropy Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
In 2012, Rosen was designated one of the Burchfield Penney’s first “Living Legacy” artists. In 2013, she received the Nathan Benderson Community Service Award from the Jewish Federation of Greater Buffalo.
 Sylvia Rosen, untitled speech at the Burchfield Penney Art Center, 09/20/1990. Typescript in the archives of BPAC.
 Sylvia Rosen, quoted in Richard Huntington, “Arts and …: The Burchfield-Penney’s craft show exalts what was once thought of as a lesser art,” The Buffalo News, 10/15/2004.
 Rosen, untitled speech at BPAC, 9/20/1990.
 Sylvia Rosen, quoted in Richard Huntington, “A woman’s work,” The Buffalo News, 10/15/2004.
 Rosen, quoted in Huntington, “Arts and …,” The Buffalo News, 10/15/2004
 Rosen, quoted in Huntington, “Arts and …,” The Buffalo News, 10/15/2004
 Author unknown, “College Confers Honors on Four Alumni,” Buffalo State Insider, 04/2006, http://www.buffalostate.edu/insider/index.asp?article=2760. (Accessed 7/22/2013)
Listen to Sylvia Rosen’s interview with the Burchfield Penney Art Center, conducted on July 19th, 2012. Hear Rosen discuss why she switched from painting to ceramics in college and how she moved into pursuing ceramics as a career. She touches on teaching and her time in Buffalo. In 1987, Rosen and her late husband founded the Sylvia Rosen Endowment for Fine Arts in the Craft Media. She discusses why she created the program and her struggle to get ceramics accepted as an art form.
LLP Artist:Sylvia Rosen
Interviewed by: Heather Gring and Scott Propeack
Transcribed by: Stephanie Pena and carmen ml brown
Date recorded: July 19th, 2012
Transcribed by :Stephanie Pena and carmen ml brown
Transcription Date: 2018
Sylvia Rosen – I sort of followed my father's interested in art, his-actual his grandfather used to paint murals in temples in Europe. He had a lot of artistic things in the house he collected. Lived in Columbus, Ohio, and I was exposed to Ohio State, but that was later on.
Heather Gring – So, your father and grandfather’s involvement in art made you want to be an artist as well, but why did you choose to go into ceramics?
Rosen – I was a regular fine arts student, and one day I went down stairs in Ohio State, in Hayes Hall and saw cases and cases filled with ceramics from all over the world, and I was just fascinated. So, at the end of my, I think, senior year, I started taking ceramics. I just loved it, it was a way... You could, uh, it was sculptural, and you can decorate, it was like a painting, it had all the component of fine arts. In fact, in Ohio ceramics is considered fine arts.
HG – So in your senior year, you started taking courses in ceramics, and then when you graduated how did you move into pursuing ceramics as a career?
Rosen – After graduation, I got married and moved to Cleveland, Ohio and I became acquainted with very famous potters, Esther [Marshall Sills] & John Sills, and I worked with them, I made their glazes and chalk glasses and also did work. That’s the connection, Cleveland is where I was in the Cleveland Museum of Art. Ohio was a great center for clay; manufacturing and they had tile factories, sewer pipe, art pottery… Of anything because of the location of the clay, so therefore it was clay oriented, and getting to the point where in Cleveland, Ohio the Cleveland Museum of Art allowed clay things to come into their shelves. So I grew up thinking that clay was a fine art. When I first came here in 1946, I brought things from the Cleveland Museum of Art show, to try to enter in the Western New York Show at Albright, to which they said we do not accept ceramics as an art form, period.
Scott Propeack – And that is the beginning of Sylvia’s time in Buffalo.
Rosen – that is the beginning of why my husband and I, in 1988 established the Sylvia Rosen Craft Art Show.
HG – Well, how did your career progress in Buffalo during those 30/40 years, when, before you started the Sylvia Rosen Craft Art Show?
Rosen – Oh, I was a member of the Buffalo Craftsman and Exhibit there. Also entered shows, like I made a state – wide show; all these things are in my... in my Burchfield –
SP – We want to hear it from you! [laughs]
HG – We want to hear your experiences.
Rosen – Okay, okay, well let’s see… I can’t remember the year I was in New York State Show that was people from all over the state entered, and I was in that. I was in, uh- god, I got to think… Many Buffalo craftsmen shows; was even in the Albright member’s gallery at one time, when they had on craftsmen show. I can’t think of all the pieces… But then I went back of Buff State, I taught at Buff State, I taught ceramics, part of that. I also studied during my masters at Buff State.
HG – Who were some of your influential mentors? You mentioned the couple in Ohio.
Rosen: Oh, they’re great! Definitely Esther Sills and her husband. And Dr. Arthur Baggs who was my teacher, was famous, he came from Alfred, which was the most important ceramics school and he was my teacher, I was just inspired by him.
SP – Was he the biggest influence on you?
Rosen – Especially that he was a functional potter, and also were the Sills, and little did I know that it wasn’t the only way to do ceramic. That was it. Yes.
HG – Great, Thank You. Would you say; were there any artist in Buffalo that you met that influenced your work, or that you found collaborations with or anything like that?
Rosen – I can’t say so –
HG – Okay!
Rosen – because I didn’t study ceramics in Buffalo, and the people in Buffalo Craftsmen were just kinda equal.
HG – Yeah, yes, absolutely.
SP – You know, we learn from each other all the time, and there’s some ceramic artist that may have been your peers but that you also felt like they have done things that you… Like Frans Wildenhain?
Rosen – Oh, within the Buffalo craftsmen there was Marvin Bjurlin, and Bill Stewart and, uh…
SP – Did Frans Wildenhain have an impact?
Rosen – Oh, gee… I met her and worked with her, yeah, she was an influence. All these people worked in functional pottery, except Bill Stewart. That’s why bringing in those other people might be confusing.
HG – Could you talk about why you create ceramics? You know, you create functional pottery. Would you like to talk about that for a minute?
Rosen – Oh, I have done a great deal of hand building, in fact the piece that you like, that Bethany Krull likes, is hand built. Just recently, this last year, I studied with a teacher that’s a hand builder and I did some hand building. I have one example here.
HG – Thank you.
Rosen – Yes.
HG – Could you talk about, you’ve made so many pieces in your entire career, but what are some themes of different types of work that you create? Like you focus on Teapots? And that sort of thing.
Rosen – No, no. It’s one of my favorites right now. There’s a teacher that I worked with a couple years ago, when I say I worked with, I worked in my home, but I come to the class to do glazing a firing. Bonnie Seeman, she makes very interesting teapots; it’s kind of got to be a fad to do teapots because they require – as I wrote in my statement – it requires a lot of planning, like a teapot has to function, you have to be able to lift it, it has to have a strainer… The spout has to be at a certain position, so you pour it right, and the lid has to fit so it doesn’t fall out. So, there are challenges that don’t exist in other pots, so I do find teapots very interesting.
HG – Yeah, that must be a lot of fun to figure it out.
Rosen – Kind of a lot of work, I’ve had some rejected because the spout wasn’t high enough when you pour them.
HG – What are some other forms that you have focused on in your career?
Rosen – I like the cover pot also. What other pots – Bowls, I’ve done some interesting bowls.
HG – Can you talk about some of the materials that you’ve used, what are some of your materials?
Rosen – There are three types of Clay, and I’ve used all of them. Presently I’m only working in porcelain, and, oh I guess… I like Bowls, I’ve made a lot of interesting bowls, I think. In fact, a lot of them are in the Burchfield; black and White one, bowls.
HG – Do you have any favorite glazes that you like to use?
Rosen – Oh yes, there’s only one I really love and that’s celadon. It, uh… And I’ll show you one of my father’s early celadon piece – things that I’ve had all these years; it’s that beautiful color. Very hard to achieve and it varies depending on the temperature of the kiln, and also your formula.
HG – And do you like celadon so much because you were influenced by your father? Or what is it about the material that you like so much?
Rosen – Because I’ve also been interested in the orient, and that was their primary for a long time; their favorite, celadon, it resembled jade, and that’s what they thought it looked like in China, and, so they pursued it.
HG – So, Asian cultures have been a big influence on you? –
Rosen – Oh yes.
HG – Can you talk about that for a minute? Maybe what aspects you find most inspirational.
Rosen – Their love of nature, and I’ve visited many – I’ve been to Japan several times, been to Thailand. I have all sorts of things from those countries; lot of them are celadon. I like their love of nature, and they’re kind of a peaceful… I like their morning ritual of cutting their flowers the first thing and arranging in the cabana. I have one in my home in Florida, where I have a scroll, and a sculptural item, and fresh flowers. So, I kind of enjoyed that spirit.
HG – You enjoyed the aesthetics of it as well. It’s wonderful, it’s interesting, too, because –
Rosen – I knew some too, I knew some artist that were… I met the famous Shōji Hamada, of which I have a piece that he gave me. He’s a national treasure, and I personally met him.
HG – When did you meet him?
Rosen: 1971, the year I graduated from Buff State.
HG – Wow. How much time did you spent over there in Asia? Were they long trips, or were they short trips?
Rosen – I never spent any really long time, I was invited by Shōji Hamada to teach there, but my husband wouldn’t let me. [both HG and SP laugh] Now, I did spend long times, well we had factories in japan, and I visited that, as I was part of that company.
HG – What company?
Rosen – It’s William Korn & Company [Designers & Manufactures, Inc.] to begin with, which became Bufkor Inc..
HG – Okay
Rosen – Yeah, and I worked in that designing and manufacturing.
HG – So you created commercial pottery as well?
Rosen – Yes, yes.
HG – Was that the main focus of your career for any period of time?
Rosen – No, it was a period that I was absent of my pottery, my husband went overseas, and I had to go back to where my parents were, and I worked with my father, brothers.
HG – Your family worked there as well?
Rosen – Yes. But mainly it was my father at the beginning. Cause we kind of understood each other.
HG – Wonderful. Thank You. Would you like to talk for a minute about your creative process? How you decide to create a certain form, what makes you want to create a bowl versus a tea pot?
Rosen – Actually, clay can kind of lead you that way. You may decide you want to make something like a tea pot and end up making a bowl, because you lost part of the clay. I can’t say, when I had assignments I had to make specific things, but on my own now I think you need some idea of where you are going. But that doesn’t necessarily mean, that you are going to end up there.
HG – Do you find different types of Clay lead you to make different types of things?
Rosen – Oh yeah, there’s such a difference of throwing, it’s very easy to throw earthenware, and stoneware, it’s much more difficult throw in porcelain. So say which is easier, I prefer earthenware, and stoneware you can do a lot more, because porcelain – it’s like throwing cottage cheese, it doesn’t have a teeth.
HG – It’s the integrity, to it. What type of works do you end up making with porcelain, predominately?
Rosen – Well, tea pots or a cup of jars.
HG – Great.
SP – So, the material helps you decide. So that’s the connection between the artist and the material you’re working with, that helps you sort of –
Rosen: It kind of – It limits you to certain extent.
SP – But also, isn’t that part of for you of being a craft artist, is having a very intense relationship with the material.
Rosen – Yeah, hands – on. I’ve loved watercolor, but it doesn’t have the fascination of working with clay. I like the hands – on material relationship.
HG – Can you talk a little bit about your watercolors?
Rosen – Oh, that’s so long ago.
HG – So you don’t make a lot of watercolors?
Rosen – Oh, I don’t anymore.
HG – When were you making watercolors?
Rosen – Earlier on, in my early days at Ohio State I’d –That was my Major, and sculpture. I did a lot of watercolors, I made shows but I couldn’t even mention, I don’t even know. Yeah; actually, once I was in a show at the canvas and it took me about four weeks of labor working at odd jobs in order to by the frame material and they were stolen. So I went back to my teacher, I was so upset, and he said “well why? I think you’d consider yourself happy that somebody really wanted them.” I didn’t feel the same way.
HG – [laughing] No, I’m sure you didn’t.
Rosen – No.
HG – Do you feel that you’re background in watercolor influences the way you view Charles Burchfield’s work? Or –
Rosen – The way I decorate, yes. Training in art in order to paint, you need to know how to draw. In order to color, you need to know color relationships. So, it’s all the same way. As they say, the degree in others cities, or should I say other states, include ceramics and its applications and its decorations as fine art.
HG – Do you feel that that has changed here in Buffalo? For example, ceramics are, in many ways, now considered to be a fine art here in Buffalo, and that might be in part because of your inspiration.
Rosen – Oh god, I don’t know if I want to answer that. I don’t think it’s that accepted, because the Burchfield having – It was Tony Bannon that accepted the show to begin with, with my husband way back in the 80s. But –
SP – But you – I think you directly impacted the way that people view craft art.
Rosen – Well, I may have.
SP – You certainly have.
Rosen – Well, yes. And definitely the Burchfield has definitely been right up there supporting me and allowing this to happen. For which I am greatly indebted.
SP – It’s the other way around.
Rosen – Huh?
SP – The Burchfield is greatly indebted to you for
Rosen – Well, look at what I have as a result of that little step, and Tony had something to do with it, he may not even remember that.
HG – Can you talk a little bit about what you have done personally to advance, not only your career in the arts, but also to advance the standing of ceramics in Western New York. You mentioned the craft art show, can you talk about how the craft art show came to be?
Rosen – Oh, there are other ways. How about the Clay Olympics?
SP – Mhm.
Rosen – Clay Olympics, have you heard of that?
HG – No, please talk about that?
Rosen – Oh, well this is part of the endowment. The ceramic department invites high schools in the area to come and compete in an Olympics – its very fun. They throw with their feet, they make hand built things, and the high schools in the area. Bethany Krull happens to be somebody that came to one of those when she was younger, and ended up coming to Buff State.
HG – Really!
Rosen – It enrolls students in ceramics. There are others, I can’t think of anybody else right now. Some by the one I scholarship. I offer scholarships at the Clay Olympics, and within the Clay Olympics there’s a little art show, I give prizes in that. That’s outside the community, and that’s outside of Burchfield, except its part of the endowment.
HG – But it’s also great because even though it’s outside of Burchfield, it is such a large part of the community –
Rosen – Yes.
HG – … and it strengthens the awareness of ceramics in the community. When did you start the Clay Olympics?
Rosen – Oh, it’s been ten years. Yes. It’s also- well, learning disabilities is the general title. And I thought, the purpose of my project was, that you can teach to a different medium. You can do it with sports or- I chose clay. I had students who made objects, who’d fire; I took my own kiln there, my own wheel, they didn’t have equipment. We had shows, and made things, and we made trips with – we made flower arrangements, and sold them, and then rented a bus. There was a write-up about it, rented a bus and went to Cape Cod. Right.
HG – What are some other endeavors that you’ve taken on to raise awareness about ceramics as fine art throughout your whole time in Western New York?
Rosen – I don’t really work on it for that reason. Cus I figure if they don’t know, it’s their problem.
SP – But you’ve brought friends in for tours, and you – when you’re in the community, you speak about it. There are subtle ways.
Rosen – Oh, yeah. I’ve spoken – different organizations have invited me to speak. Very nice universities, I’ve got documentation, all this, but can’t think of them right now.
HG – That’s okay, and like you’ve mentioned a lot of this we have on record.
Rosen – And I’ve taught in the area, at UB and then Amherst Senior High, some of those students ended up working in clay. Yeah.
HG – Can you say that again?
Rosen – Ronda Floor (NAME REF 20:50) was one of my students from UB that ended up becoming quite famous. I have some of his work. Yeah.
HG – Who are some other students that you’ve had who you’ve influenced? You’ve mentioned Bethany Krull; are there any other –
Rosen – Oh, I didn’t have a direct influence – Eh, well.
SP – You directly influenced her, but she was never one of your students. She learned from you, but as a fellow artist.
Rosen – She was a student. I taught at Buff State, but not in the ceramic department. In the education department, where I taught students who were not art majors. So, I didn’t teach ceramics to –
HG – But you still had a great influence on so many youths.
Rosen – Yeah, there were some students I did teach a ceramic project within that that became interested and then went into ceramics.
HG – Really? That’s fantastic.
Rosen – I had one student in my special project at Amherst who ended up coming to Buff State, but I couldn’t give you her name.
HG – that’s okay. How long did you teach and where did you teach? Could you mention that for a minute?
Rosen – It started when I returned to doing that after not leaving Buffalo. I went to UB, at the creative crafts center, I was part of establishing that with Irene Lar (NAME REF 22:20) who was a fellow Buffalo craftsmen.
HG – When was that?
Rosen – 1950s, or 60s. They said I couldn’t continue to teach there unless I got my masters. So, I left there and went to Buff State, got my masters, got a job at Buff State, so I never went back there.
HG – So, then you were at Buff State; how long were you at Buff State?
Rosen – Ten years.
HG – Okay. Part of why we’re doing this oral history project is because we want to provide information for emerging artists about how some more established artists, how their careers have gone; what the trajectory has been. I like to ask people a couple questions about, for example: if there’s something you wish you could’ve told yourself right when you came out college about what it’s like to work in the arts; what would it be? That’s a big one, and I know that’s a really hard one, but sometimes there’s things you wish you had known.
Rosen – Wish I had known, hm. When I graduated in 1941, don’t forget I didn’t work in, or teach for another… Until after going back to Buff State, so that’s a long gap. I was in business which was also based on art, because I design background things, so I don’t know what I could say.
SP – But what in general, what kind of advice would you give artists about making work?
Rosen – I would just say “stick to it,” it’s not an easy beginning. Sometimes you’re fortunate, you find your right spot, but doesn’t mean you give up if you don’t find it right away. Look at how long it took me to get to where I was doing what I wanted to do. Graduated in 1941, but didn’t teach art as art until 60s, 70s, because that was the first depression, don’t forget I’ve been through the first one. The real one. Ninety-two years.
HG – What have been some of your needs as an artist that the community has provided you with, or maybe things that you wish you had gotten but didn’t and you had to end up providing yourself.
Rosen – Well, you see when you need supplies; art supplies, when you’re a student, and you need funds- somebody offering a scholarship like the funds I give to the students now. Gee, I wish that I could let you read this last ‘thank you note’ I got, because it came at I time when you really need it. I think that people who have scholarships, to help students while they’re in school. Yes.
SP – Do you feel like, as a ceramic artist, that there are special needs that you have? Like a space to work? Like kilns? I know that that’re not- Some painters, they can paint anywhere, but ceramic artists really need space to work.
Rosen – Yeah, well see Robert allows people to work there, extra time from class and all; studio space. Yeah, that’s a very important part.
SP – Even, particularly if you’re not in school, if you’re just a practicing artist, what would you do?
Rosen: It’s very hard for ceramic artists to find a spot, I’ve always had a spot because there isn’t anything. I worked – what do you call it, the night schools that they had at different –
SP – Continuing education?
Rosen – Yeah, the continuing education is important. High schools, I studied ceramics at high school before getting back into doing it. Found out somebody, Harald Lacrin (NAME REF 26:15) who was a teacher at Buff State, he had a studio at his house, and I worked there. You paid to go there, but in order to have a kiln, of which I have in this studio. I was, let’s see, how old was I by the time when I finally got a studio? I was already living in this house, and it was up there, until there, it was that ya had to work wherever I could.
HG – Yeah.
SP – Mhm.
Rosen – Gee, well for a ceramic’s studio, open free space would be great somewhere. Because the colleges, like Robert Wood (NAME REF 26:50), can’t allow that. He’s very generous in life, but-
SP – But there’s a limitation. They can only do so much, because there’s classes.
Rosen – It interferes with the use of the studio, which isn’t always large enough. Oh, by the way; you know I’m going to be involved in the new… Oh I’m so excited about that. There’s going to be a library in the new Upton hall, this isn’t official yet. Where I will have a library, and I will give them my books, some of my collection. Maybe they’ll ask for a piece of my, and you know what else they want? A large photograph of me holding the bowl. He says “that’s gunna be in the-“That only happened last week. I don’t know. I have loss of sight, and it makes a big difference, cus I can’t quite see what… particularly with decoration.
HG – Do you find that even though your sight isn’t as good as it used to be, you can still feel what you’re making?
Rosen – That’s why I can still work, but I haven’t done anything all summer, as you see.
HG – That’s all of my questions, if that’s okay, is there anything else you’d like to say about your career, your work, or anything like that?
Rosen – I don’t know. Lets-
SP – There’s always more.
HG – There is always more.
SP – There’s always more. What do you think about Charles Burchfield’s work?
Rosen – Oh, I love it, and I’ve got some painted, probably painted in the same time. I love watercolor, and I don’t know why I switched.
[HG and SP laugh]
Rosen – I guess that I found the clay a little more… A little more intriguing, for some reason. But watercolor, oh you know Harvey Breverman (NAME REF 28:45) whose … I worked at UB for a while, and he came to my house once and saw my old watercolors, I’ll show you my old watercolors, he says “why are you doing clay work when you could paint like that? Come to my class, I think you should change your profession.” He actually said that to me.
HG – Regardless of what you did, that’s quite a compliment.
Rosen – I really thought that when I was older, I know don’t how much older, that I would switch back, but then I lost my eyesight to a certain extent. And even like you say, you can feel the clay, if you miss seeing… I have macular degeneration, which wipes out.
SP – So, the question that I wanted to ask you…
Rosen – Yes.
SP – Was about the support that you got from your family when it came to working and also not working in the arts. And you don’t have to, I won’t record this if you don’t want me to. But I was hoping you could possibly talk about the support you got from your husband when it came to teaching and working and making work.
Rosen – Oh, well, remember the article? Did she see that article that Richard Huntington (NAME REF 30:10) wrote?
SP – Well, I was hoping that you would just tell us the story. You could tell her the story, though.
Rosen – Tell her the story? Oh, my husband didn’t approve of my teaching.
HG – What?
Rosen – Yeah, and so I hired somebody that came in 11:30, I went to work at UB campus, and before I left, I put an apply and an onion in the oven, so he would think I was cooking all day. This article was in Gusto, Richard Huntington (NAME REF) wrote, somebody was working with pots, but not the kind that Nate (NAME REF 30:45) wanted. He didn’t know I was working until he got my W2 form, so it was… Talk about male chauvinist.
SP – But he was supportive in other ways.
Rosen – Well, after the fact, after he saw that I could make stuff, he’s the one that gave the money for the craft art, yes.
SP – So, in the long run, he helped you work on realizing some of your dreams?
Rosen – That’s right, absolutely! Oh yeah, but not at the beginning, cus he said “I don’t care what you do all day long as long as dinners on the table, the kids are dressed” you know.