Laura Tobi

Ceramic Sculpture and other art forms

The art of perseverance, and the joy of light volume

When I watched this TED talk today I immediately thought of all the students that are pulled out of art classes because they “have no talent”.

Posted 11 years, 9 months ago at 16:21.

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Creative Ideas are Contagious

In an open studio setting children get the chance to develop their own projects. Working on big painting in a 5 and 6 year old class, the idea of creating something that flies inspires the children one by one. In the end, we had not only a bird, but a flying fish, bunnies with wings and leaping lizards too.

Posted 11 years, 9 months ago at 17:48.

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Summer Art

The summer is here and so are summer art classes. My schedule is almost full, but I still have a few spaces available!
Whether in the morning, afternoon or evening, summer is a care free time to indulge on your creativity.



Posted 11 years, 9 months ago at 16:08.

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100% Success! All my Portfolio Preparation Students get into the schools of their choice!

It is over. The portfolios were presented, the auditions were executed and the letters are in. All the students I coached this year got into the schools of their choice: New World, DASH. Coral Reef.


I am glad to have a 100% success with the students I coach for middle and high school art magnet programs. We work hard together, student, teacher and family team.

Now for the next crop of artists!

Posted 12 years ago at 15:10.

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Portfolio Preparation Coaching Pays Off

Congratulations to Tiziana Felice for having been accepted to

New World School of the Arts.

Tiziana came to me last June to start working on her portfolio. Having recently moved from Venezuela, and having none of her previous works with her, she had a long and hard process to go through. All her work payed off. New World is nationally recognized as one of the best Art schools. A great future awaits her.

Posted 12 years ago at 11:41.

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Thinking of a Magnet School? It’s never to early to start preparing your portfolio

If you love art, or think you love art, Miami offers wonderful public schools, from elementary to high schools. At these schools you can indulge in your passion and learn along with other students who love art as much as you do. If you want to go to one of these schools you need to prepare a portfolio showcasing your talent. Different schools have slightly different requisites and conditions, but they are pretty similar. Check out the links to the Miami Dade Magnet Art Schools that are included on the right hand side of the screen.

It’s never to early

Most of my students come to me in a hurry in October or November, desperate for some coaching to help them prepare their portfolios. Only some come early. If you are thinking you might like to apply for an Arts Magnet School you might as well start working on your art over the summer. So if you are an incoming 2nd, 5th. or 8th. grader, the best time to start preparing your portfolio is June or July before you go back to school. You have more time -no homework or extracurricular activities-, it is extremely hot to be outside most of the time anyways, and it is probably raining like crazy every afternoon -yeah! that’s Miami!-.

Focus on Creativity, Showing Your Passion and Technique

Every Magnet Art school has a small list of guidelines for the portfolio. Your best work has to be included, and the best work seldom happens over night. During the coaching I’ll help you find your own image and style. We will focus on what interests you. You are your art and your art is you, so this has to show. Significant themes and a creative way of developing them is key. Enrich your work showing you can use different techniques, and you are not afraid to move away from your comfort zone. It will take a life time to master the different techniques and media, but you need to show your interest and your willingness to explore and take risks.

When preparing work you have to do more than the 5 or 10 pieces of work you are asked to include on your portfolio. A good artist does many works, but chooses only some to show. Many artists get so upset over work they do that they break it of trash it or turn it into something else. This will happen to you too, so for you to be happy with what you show, you need to have time to develop your very best. The muses will come, just give them time!

Presentation of your work is also important. A well presented drawing or painting, a great picture of a sculptural object will highlight your work and say tons about your commitment. I don’t care if some say you should just take the work as is, I believe you need to work on the presentation. This is also a learning process for you that will help you the rest of your art life.

What can Laura Tobi do for your Portfolio Preparation

All the work has to be done by you. After an initial interview where we meet and I see all that you have done already I develop a personalized plan for you, based on your interests, previous knowledge and your skills.

The program is based on projects you will develop. I will make sure you include different techniques and help you visualize the best way to complete each project. I’ll also give you ideas to enrich each work or to spark new ideas in you. As an educator my student is my focus, and I am only the guide.

Last but not least, you will practice the necessary skills to ace the audition. You will be asked to show your skills at the audition and will also go through an interview. Your portfolio is important, but so are you. During the audition you must show the interviewers your talent and your passion.

To set up an appointment contact me at

Don’t procrastinate!

Posted 12 years, 8 months ago at 9:17.

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Danny’s Gates to Heaven

Danny's Gates to HeavenIt is not a usual day when a 5th. grader comes into the studio and all alone creates the Gates to Heaven. As a guide in the process of creativity in this case I didn’t have to motivate, but rather admire.

 I wonder about Danny’s thought process, the stories simmering in his mind. I can only ask questions and be surprised at the answers.  Each arc in the sculpture has  a cryptic symbol of some invented civilization. Danny is working on a set of artifacts of a civilization that appears to be materializing in his mind. He wants to create a museum with the artifacts. I have seen the symbols before: they were written in a tablet he created for the “museum”. I still don’t know the meaning. I hope this “artistic archeologist” will unveil it soon.

These gates are small if we think of the representations of  heaven  in movies or the descriptions from the pulpit. These gates are enormous when we realize they are only a free sample of the vast imagination this child has.doors-of-heaven1

 I also wonder during this time of standardized testing and eternal preparation for evaluation, when does Danny has a chance to show his teachers, his school and the Miami Dade Public Schools System what he can really do. Why aren’t we giving him all the opportunities to develop his creativity?

Posted 13 years ago at 12:43.

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Benefits Children Get From Participating in Art Activities


This week, once again, I encountered a parent whose child loves art, but because the child is a boy the parent does not believe art is an activity he should be engaged in. I find the same problem over and over again. The child loves the art activities, but the parent thinks his son should be focused on sports. The same is true of parents that won’t encourage their kids, girls or boys, to participate in art activities because their children aren’t “artistic” enough or “talented” enough.
In countless opportunities I have tried to find the right words to express what I think are the benefits children derive from participating in art activities. I found the following very clear explanation in the web site of The Art Institute of Chicago during the summer. Here is what they said:

“…We believe nurturing creative potential stands at the center of preparing children for life. Whether a child develops into an artist or scientist, encouraging the creative process is very important in their early educational years. In our workshops children learn to discover, explore, and imagine in their own unique ways as we help them on a path to becoming the creators, innovators, and problem solvers of the future…

… we motivate children to use their creativity by engaging in unique and inventive art making and problem solving projects. We guide them to discover that solutions are not right or wrong but rather their own…”


  • Do you encourage your children to participate in art activities?
  • What kind of activities are they?


Posted 13 years, 4 months ago at 12:07.

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Isi’s Creative Process: Giving Children the Freedom to Create as Children


The creative process needs time. This is true for all, no matter what your age or your area of expertise.
Isi is 4 years old. She loves to work with clay. This particular shape was the first step to a special creation, all of her own. She spent about an hour pounding, rolling, poking holes in the clay. The result is in the picture above. It did not seem much at the time, but she said it was a bridge and asked me to fire it.
I always trust my little artists, and have fired all sorts of little odd shapes they come up with. This is their original work. We need to respect it.


The picture above shows what Isi created the very next class. I just placed the first shape in front of her on the table, and she started working. If you look closely you will recognize her first shape repeated several times to create this sculpture.


This is the creature that lives inside her sculpture. Imagination is at play.

Isi liked looking at it from the side. So maybe, when she grows up, if she gets the chance, she will make a really big sculpture, to show us adults her point of view.


Isi’s creative path reminds me to respect the creative process of each child. Don’t impose the adult point of view. Let the child create with the freshness of her age.

Posted 13 years, 4 months ago at 16:15.