Monday, May 10, 2010

New Work

The last firing was a success. The pictures below are some of my favorites. I also updated my website, just follow the the link in the top upper right. I feel like I need to make some drastic changes in my work. Lately  feel like I am in a vacuum.  I feel like I'm all over the place and need to develop a consistent body of work. As a young artist working in clay it's like being a kid in a candy store. You are bombarded with techniques and ways to work that you want to try everything. I think its about finding out what works for you and what you want to say in your work. So this summer I plan to do some soul searching, develop ideas about who I am as an artist.


  1. Beautiful work. I love those soft glazes.

  2. My opinion - you're extremely talented and your work is amazing. If I could do what you do, I wouldn't change a thing! That being said, I understand what you're feeling and I wish you the best in your search. An aside, I really wish I could attend your glazing workshop, but a 2 year old and 1000 miles make it a hard thing to do...

  3. First off let me say that I think you make some really incredible pots, and that as an outsider I am truly envious of how well everything in them seems to work together. Everything from the glazes fitting the forms to the proportions and the surfaces speaks of your mastery. I am almost always left in awe when I see your work.

    But of course this is an outsider speaking, and as artists we are often our own harshest critics. It is part of evolving that requires that we reside in a permanent state of discomfort with our work. To feel satisfied is to become complacent and to feel less pressure to change. The fact that you feel like you need to make drastic changes only speaks of your willingness to continue evolving. The pots themselves are great, but it is only through becoming immune to their success that we retain the desire to continue to stretch ourselves. So, while I as an outsider think your pots are mostly fabulous, I can also sympathize with your desire to make things different and encourage you in this effort. Here is a quote from John G. Nettles that pretty much sums this up: "All art is born of dissatisfaction with the world as it is....Those who can be satisfied will be satisfied with crap." (Maybe stretches the point a bit)

    My second thought concerns where you think you are and where you think you need to be. Finding out what works for you, finding out what you want to say in your work, developing ideas of who you are as an artist are all conditions of self awareness, and it makes sense to be honest about this. You also say that on the one hand you want to try all these different techniques and ways of working, but on the other hand feel the need to develop a consistent body of work. Obviously the first condition, the kid in the candy store, is something true about you and a part of how you naturally feel. The second condition is obviously in contradiction to this, so what does that tell you? My feeling is that this 'need' for consistency is significantly an external demand. It would be something like 'needing' to only eat Chinese food despite enjoying Mexican, Thai, Italian, Ethiopian and many other cuisines. Humans are inherently complex and complicated beings (and yes, even contradictory and inconsistent), so why should an artist feel the 'need' to reflect something much more unified and simple? Does Art require this of us? Is part of learning to express oneself creatively a narrowing of options and a winnowing of choices? I would argue the opposite.

    There are all sorts of external pressures to tighten one's creative expression but this doesn't make it always the right thing to do. Branding one's work in the market place puts a limit on how diverse the work can be. Meeting the expectations of an audience can put pressure on regurgitating the same old same old. Mining only one way of doing things to the exclusion of everything else can hone a specific ability or message. Becoming identified by a body of work can point to developing a signature style. All of these things are 'prudent'. But when is being an artist strictly about prudence? When an artist shuns risk and only plays it safe is this a good thing? Potters seem especially swayed by the mythology of a signature style as a personal necessity rather than an external exigence. Many other artistic disciplines recognize style not as an end, but as a means to expressing specific messages. Style becomes an EFFECT rather than a supposed kernel of truth about the artist. If you enjoy making what ever you want to make why would you let someone else tell you to only make certain things and to not make others? Isn't part of the fun (and importance) of being an artist the exploring? Why confine yourself to a limited field? As long as you are doing what you want to do isn't that what matters most? I would love to hear what you think about these issues.

  4. Carter thanks for the thought. I'm not sure where to begin. I do feel as an artist it is about evolving and trying new things. I do agree that we shouldn't limit ourselves in our creativity and we should push the boundries. Ofcourse we shouldn't let others be the factor in telling us what to make. There is pressure from galleries, customers to crank out the same work, but I would go crazy if I did that. The consistency thing does relate to this. I want to be consistent to people that buy my work, but at the same time keep evolving. I don't want to have work that looks like it was made by several other people. You given me a lot to think about.