Tip Toland, Come, 2014, Porcelain, Chalk, Pastel, WoolEditor's note: this is an excerpt of the multi-author article, "Lineage: The Art of Mentorship," Vol. 43, No. 1, Winter/Spring 2015

Richard Notkin Heart Teapot, Internal Combustion Metamorphosis, Yixing Series, 2013, Stoneware, Luster

I first worked with Tip at Montana State University in 1981. I was the acting chair of her MFA committee when she received her degree, and she is the best student I’ve had in my years of university- and college teaching. Tip and I hit it off immediately because we were both working in narrative sculpture, weaving images into stories we were passionate about. She was one of only two students I ever had with whom my approach was just to sit back and watch. I didn’t want to mess with her already strong art, but I did help her technically, and I encouraged her in numerous, fascinating discussions we had about her work. I feel a bit guilty nominating her as my "mentee" because I feel that I probably learned more from Tip than she learned from me. About thirty years after meeting her, I took a two-week workshop on figurative sculpture from Tip, and she became my mentor. We have had a long-term relationship which has been, I hope, mutually beneficial. I know it has been beneficial for me.

Read more