[Clayart] cannot change your personality

mel jacobson melpots at mail.com
Sat Oct 8 17:42:48 UTC 2022

the dumbest teaching technique is to tell students.."loosen up".  If you are tight, stay tight.

I am a loose guy. I live in the land of serendipity.  I want to be surprised and laugh
when I open a kiln. White pots with white clay fired to a safe cone 9 would bore me to tears.

But, that is just me, not you.

I try to show many of you that fear, carefulness, always safe is an odd way to make pots.
Let your own voice speak and shout.

As I have said many times on clayart..."I am a potter, not a chemical engineer".  I respect
ceramic engineers, I listen to them, believe in them, but I am not one.

When I go on the hunt for new, I let it come to me.
After years of being a potter, I know what the chemicals do, how they interact, I know that sugar
and flour and butter make cookies. There are a thousand cookie recipes. I don't want someone else's
recipe, I want mine.

This is not a brag, it is information.  When Joe Koons came to me to help him with a 50 year study
in Hare's Fur Chinese glazes I had to tell him..."I think I can do it". He looked at me like I was
nuts..."Tell me how, said Joe"   I said.  "When did potters start to use kiln shelves?, did Chinese
potters in the year 25 have kiln shelves.?  No NO NO.  They used stacked saggers. POTS sealed in clay
boxes. "What was the atmosphere in a sealed box?  Oxidized". The clay was deep brown in the raw
state, fired in a hot
kiln full of fire and smoke to cone 12,13.  The clay turned deep brown at that temp, and the glazes
ran.  Pots fired that way in the Ming dynasty were clear, blue green, not snot, runny ash or crap
all over them. Wood fired in boxes.

So, the first time I fired my kiln, with Joe's clay and glazes on pots I made, cone 12, totally gas fired
in Oxy...I had "hare's fur".  A kiln full of 125 hare's fur pots.  I tell the truth, I was not
totally surprised. Very Happy, yes.

 I have tried to learn to trust my intuition.  I believe in the power of intuition.  Many people know the
answer, but do not trust themselves...Many are raised to "be careful, don't do that, be safe, never try
a new thing...stay on the safe ground. Never be afraid of failure, fear never trying.

I love to encourage new potters to take the risks to make your own glaze...start with "paint by numbers", but then
throw it out and start painting. And, in case you are a perfectionist, and careful all the time...well, glory in it
and get to work. Make amazing pots.

website: www.melpots.com

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