[Clayart] (no subject)
porcelainbyantoinette at gmail.com
Fri Aug 12 18:33:58 UTC 2022
The past few weeks, I saw how the Clayart discussions slipped past me and
I was too busy to respond.
We are organizing the first ever Clay conference in Mississippi and this
email from David and the thoughts of Gregg could not have come at a better
time. Right from the beginning I was pushing for education: a topic so many
times discussed here on Clayart, but along with it to encourage artists to
be individualistic in their approach, and to raise the levels of
craftsmanship and artistry. We are living in a cookie cutter society and
the ceramic art industry is swimming in this society.
It is all good and well, we do want to have all the spin of businesses to
be successful, especially if it is Made in the USA but there are limits to
how much is good for us.
It is very convenient to have all these resources, but we have to learn to
utilize these resources without just following the trend. We do not think
for ourselves any more and do not solve our problems by looking inward
anymore, to use David’s words. I remember so many stories from 70's potters
telling how they planned and obtained bricks to build a wood firing kiln.
That type of excitement and energy is not there any more.
I was not part of that group, but I remember how I obtained an old kiln in
South Africa and how we hand formed elements for it to work. I also
remember how my ignorance those days made me open the kiln WAY too early
and how I watched earthenware plates fall to pieces with a crack in
front of my eyes.
On the looking inward comment, I would like to share this story with y'all.
My little 10 year old grandson had his week of individual attention in my
studio a few weeks back. He was , just like the others, supposed to learn
to throw on the wheel “like a grown up”
I quickly found out he does not like the wheel, so when I confronted him
with it, he said “ Ouma I do not want to throw cups and plates ”. So I led
him to throw with the intention to build a sculpture with hand built and
wheel thrown components. Learning to throw on the wheel is such a good
hand-eye coordination exercise.....
He flipped through some books and I could tell he was not looking to copy,
but looking for element ideas, so I told him do not have to use books to
find what he needs, ….go outside and go find what you’re looking for there.
"Thank you Ouma, Thank you!" was his response.
When he came back from outside, he had a few leaves in his hand, so he
formed a few leaves from clay and in the end had this 15” tall sculpture
built from square slabs and wheel thrown components. Some of these elements
were in a daring balance with others which sometimes put me on edge! Before
he left, some of those broke loose, but in the end I successfully got it
through the bisque kiln.
Much more happened after the sculpture was made, but by the end of his
week, he collected leaves from all over our garden, put it into a document
with the names of each leaf, which his Oupa Koos helped him to identify. I
learned so much from that child!
I guess the moral of this story is that we are not born to become cookie
cutter potters. If we can just slow down, cut the constant competition to
be the biggest and best and begin to look inwardly, we may all win in the
........ and just a last note about my grandson: When his parents asked
him what he learned the past week, he said.... Oupa and Ouma walk over the
lawn, look at the grass growing and talk to each other.... LOL.....that is
a story for another day......
*International Academy of Ceramics*
*Mississippi Arts Commission
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