Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Oh, LOOK! Shiny Things!

Look at all those beautiful carts full of cool stuff!

"They're not distractions, they're explorations into other techniques."


I find myself saying this to myself, and often. I'm not buying it though, because I know myself and how easily I fall (who am I kidding? I dive) into rabbit holes!

I am currently in love with several potters' work. Stephen Pearce, an Irish potter whose work we saw when we were in Ireland this year, is one. I love how he uses wax resist to create his designs! The contrast between his glaze and the bare clay is wonderful! I also have shop envy, because he has a beautiful store and work space on one property in Shanagarry. I include only a couple of pictures of his workspace, as it's actually several large spaces set aside for different purposes.  
I love the light in his spaces, too! It's so bright and cheerful!

But the point of this is how much I enjoy what he's done to the clay surface to bring out the best in the shape of the form. It's deceptively simple, which shows, in my opinion, the master potter at work. Yes, intricate patterns are wonderful, and there's a huge "wow!" factor to them, since even the least educated of viewers can see that there's a tremendous amount of work and skill involved in such a complex decoration.

When I see Stephen Pearce's work, I am convinced I need to play with wax resist (and other resist) techniques. And of course, I need to plan to get my own building in the country, of course! (It's just a bonus that I found an old graveyard right next door to his shop. Maybe I'll get lucky with that, too!)

Then, there's Gary Jackson's work.
Endlessly colorful, intricately stamped and then soda fired, most often. I love the forms he makes, and I love that he continues to come up with new stamps all the time, so that his work is varied in texture. His glazes "break" in just the right spots, which, when you formulate your own glazes, is a big deal. Or it is to me, who has not made her own glazes as of yet. (It's on the list. Commercial glazes are expensive!) 
So of course, whenever I look at Gary's work, well only stamping/soda firing will do. I simply must do it!

And then, there's Doug Fitch and Hannah McAndrew and their beautiful slipware pottery.
How could I not be interested in the techniques they use? I am completely sucked in! Their designs are gorgeous! Their lines are loose and flowing, not stiff. And I love that they post videos of snippets of their work time.
The kicker for me, of course is that they fire in a wood-firing kiln. Makes my heart flutter!

There are others, of course. You all know I'm in love with Shoji Hamada's work, and his buddy's, Bernard Leach. Simon Leach, Bernard's grandson, keeps up the family trade, and has some wonderful things to add to the craft.

I love them all, and want to do it all.

Focus, I keep telling myself. Just focus.

Of course, now that my shoulder is messed up and I need to get in for surgery, throwing pots may be off the table on a permanent basis. I certainly hope not, and I'm keeping a positive thought that everything will heal properly after the surgery and I'll be fine, but there is that niggling worry in the back of my mind that I won't get to master anything in pottery, and that I may have to leave clay behind, forever. 

Probably not. I'll likely have to adjust the size of my work and the hardness of my clay, and the positioning of my body when I work. I also need to get back to the gym and take better care of myself, although in my defense, I no sooner healed from my foot surgeries than I had this injury.

Well. I think I'll go out to the studio and get a few things cleaned up and organized. Maybe throw a cup or two, just to keep in practice...

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