[Clayart] Art and play

Tom Gibson via Clayart clayart at lists.clayartworld.com
Fri Aug 1 14:13:32 EDT 2014

This is an interesting thread being shared here for me.
Big thank you for everyone participating.
I have over time separated myself from the word artist. Choosing craftsman instead.
The training I received in collage about being an artist also included leaning the ways of "playing"
the art/artist game to make a living. However over the years I have soured on that performance of 
the artist category. Too much thinking. Defending. Judging. I am not so good at being academic.
Whereas craftsperson describes who I really am. A maker of ceramic objects. I want people to buy and use my 
work. Not just look at it; not just talk about it; not see my CV.
People who buy my work choose it for various reasons but not because I talk about it or someone else does. They 
do not play around with its value by interaction. They just like it for whatever reason or use they have in mind.
It feels like a real relationship for me. Showing my work never felt real for me.
So the fact that part of my creating work involves experimentation, exploring options, testing materials or "playing" never comes up for the folks who buy my work. They just like that I did my best with the craft and put my heart into the process. 
They can feel that when holding my work.
I do agree that challenging myself to an evermore aware level of execution of the creating process shows up as a satisfying sense of accomplishment for me. And that decipline does get jealous when someone says they envy my playing with clay all the time. But I do know better.  And I do see that buyers notice that in the work.
Just saying....

Tom Gibson 

On Friday, August 1, 2014 7:11 AM, Jeff Lawrence via Clayart <clayart at lists.clayartworld.com> wrote:

Kudos to Mel for advising clay artists to be professional.
It's understandable that some use use the word "play" to characterize their
art work, since few other life activities are simultaneously focused,
enjoyable and effortless. The problem is the same as in the comic set
piece: a woman complimented on a beautiful dress responds "What, this old
rag?" so her husband uses it to wipe his hands after changing the oil. This
is an example of semantic priming, a well-established aspect of human
psyche. For more:
An alternative term that doesn't connote childish and trivial activity is
"flow." I think Randall and Arnold were both referring to this, though not
by name.  Flow is a state of enjoyable and effortless focus of unusual
intensity that typically allows people to be far more than usually
productive.  Read more here:
If it bothers you that people dismiss your art work, maybe Mel's advice on
presentation is worth some brain cycles.
jefflawr at gmail.com
PS I stopped dismissing Warhol as self-promoting prima donna when I
stumbled across a display of his student sketchbook, full of incredibly
evocative pencil  and charcoal cityscapes. However distasteful his
self-aggrandizing, the guy had an eye.
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