Monday, June 18, 2012


Here are a few  in progress shots of the pots I'm working on. The clay is porcelain and the surfaces are a combination of colored slip and underglaze with a healthy amount of wax resisted etching.
I've decided to add this acid yellow to my pallet, which has been a bit of a challenge. On the technical side I've noticed that it likes to turn green only sometimes when on top of my blue slip, so that's probably an application issue that need to be sussed out.  Aesthetically the yellow slip can be overpowering and out of place, in particularl if I take it to far.

However, taking it to far seems to be the theme of my work this year and I think that's a good thing for now. I've decided to really try and make the kinds of pots that I want to make and that gets into my larger objective of being the kind of man I want to be.  For the past two years I've been the person I needed to be, the son I needed to be for both of my parents, the business partner and confidant my father needed. As of three weeks ago I am trying to be the person I want to be. I'm trying to wake up everyday and do what I need to do.
My first instinct was to wake up and roll right out of bed and into the studio. I found myself consumed with throwing as much as I possibly could and a week later I found myself with more unfinished greenware than I've ever had to deal with at the one time. While this gave me a great opportunity to experiment with different surface treatments and motifs, I found myself missing out on some of the informed decision making that comes out of the ceramic process; the ability to improvise based on what is happening in front of me.

 Everyday I work with clay I think back to my Junior Pots class with Linda Sikora and the great discussions she would lead. I remember her talking about Michael Simon one day (and this was at a time when I was really looking at his pots everyday and reading as much of his writing and writing about him as I could get my hands on) and she began to describe his daily practice.
Linda Sikora
Michael Simon
While most potters work in cycles of making specific forms i.e. today I'm going to throw 20 cups and 30 bowls, Simon would come in and produce a wide variety of forms every day. At the end of the day he would have a wide range of objects, all expanding on different forms and surfaces but at the same time sharing a common touch that held it together as one body of work. 

 That is how I want to work and while I am certainly no Michael Simon, this approach has been really helpful. I am making less work but making more progress. I'm taking risks, asking questions and accepting the consequences.

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