Robert Serb's Artistic Endeavors

This website is intended to showcase my writing, pottery, artwork and other creative endeavors.

Scott helps arrange some of my bowls
He's a very big help!

      I've taught writing at Oakton Community College and Columbia College for 17 years, and my biggest creative endeavor is writing short stories. Unfortunately, there's a huge difference between writing and marketing, and although I've collected a slew of rejection letters I've only had a few stories published (though I keep trying). If you click on the "Writings" link here or on the left you can read the stories (and academic articles) which I have published.

      Of course, teaching and writing are both cerebral activities, and I've found that even the smartest and most intelligent people often have "hands on" hobbies and other activities—there's no feeling quite as satisfying as looking at something and telling yourself, "I made that!" This is why accomplished lawyers and doctors can often be found puttering in the garden or taking art classes at the local studio—they have a hunger to work with their hands and create something solid. My main creative outlets, in the sense of making "real" things rather than just playing with words, have been ceramics and woodworking.

      One of the benefits of working at a college is cheap tuition, so I've taken a number of ceramics classes at Northwestern University and Oakton Community College. Initially, all of my work came out lopsided or off-center, but after making a lot of "ugly cups" I've managed to develop some skill. I find working with clay immensely satisfying, despite the occasional aggravation of seeing carefully shaped, carved or decorated pieces crack or distort during the firing. In particular, I've enjoyed decorating my pieces with whimsical or humorous themes; nothing sparks a conversation quite like handing a dinner guest a mug shaped like a butt, or with a face that's sticking out its tongue.

      I've also been an amateur woodworker since I was in high school; you can see photos and comments about some of my woodworking, woodcarving and woodburning projects here.

      Other artistic endeavors of mine include drawing, cooking (yes, it's an art), sewing (I've made my own Scottish kilt, for wearing to the Renaissance Festival, and now have a much greater appreciation for tailors and sewing Moms), photography, and other things that don't come to mind at the moment.

      I am deeply endebted to my very talented wife, Diane Wittig, who has encouraged me and taught me a great deal (She first taught me pyrography, many years ago). Also to my parents, who've put up with a lot of sawdust in the basement, clay scrapings in the dining room, and midnight inspirational writing sessions over the years.

E-mail me; I welcome your comments and suggestions. Or you can take a look at the Frequently Asked Questions to see what other people have asked, and my answers.

Thanks for stopping by to see my Art!

      One Final note:
      When I took my first ceramics class five years ago I had an interesting conversation with another teacher, a neurotic psychology professor. Her suggestions amounted to, "Take a computer class! Take a Spanish class! Take something useful, for goodness' sake! You can't put ceramics on your resume!"

      While it's true that working with clay won't get me a better job, or more money, I think she missed the point completely. I enjoy it very much—and that's the real goal in life, isn't it?

This is Robert Serb's Personal Homepage. "The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the author. The contents of this page and the links therein have not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by Oakton Community College."

This page was last updated on July 10th, 2019.