Tuesday, December 2, 2008

No work...just thoughts.

I spent the day cleaning up the studio and gallery getting ready for the Holiday Stroll throughout town this Friday.  I'm eager to get back to work in the studio but I have another day of cleaning and organizing before I can.  After working like crazy, 2 firings and 2 shows my studio is a little bit of a disaster.  All should be close to okay tomorrow and if all goes well I may be throwing again by tomorrow afternoon....Thursday at the latest....I hope.

I only have a little clay left and I need to put in an order tomorrow.  We're off to Houston for the holidays on the 18th and my goal is to get everything together so that when we return right before New Year's I'll be able to start cruising again.  I'm doing wholesale/retail in Baltimore and when we get back I'll only have 6 weeks to get ready for the show....plenty of time but I want to be clear about what I'm doing leading up to it.  If I start planning now, perhaps I'll have a little less self-imposed stress before the show.  So, with a clean studio by tomorrow I'll still have a couple of weeks to get a head-start in getting ready for the next firing.

I've been thinking a lot about my new work and how it seems to be more "design" based recently....as if there is a difference between that and studio pottery.  There isn't, but I think that as my pots get more decoration, the design/throwing of them becomes more in the front of my mind before I approach the wheel.  It is definitely a change in the way I work and I think it has been a change that has led to being more productive.  I found myself re-reading this interview in American Craft with Ayumi Horie.  It got me thinking about where this new work came from.

American Craft:
What is your relationship to design, craft and the fine arts? How do you see your relationship to each? Or one in particular?

Ayumi Horie:
....I’m much more comfortable with the moniker of craftsman and designer than I am with artist. I’m a craftsman in the sense that I’ve largely committed myself to one material and am concerned with function, use, and accessibility. I’m a designer in the sense that I understand how my aesthetic translates into various materials and am happiest when I have various side projects in media other than ceramics. Spending three years renovating my house full time helped hone my aesthetic more than anything else. Making daily decisions about trim, shingles, gutters, mullions, and tread thickness made certain aesthetic patterns evident to me and even brought more clarity to my ceramic work......

Switching back to my reduction kiln after firing soda/salt and wood for so long definitely made me re-think the design, surfaces and so many other ideas regarding my pots.  But, those were process-based decisions within my work.  The layers of slip, incising, waxing and the Celadon glaze were about how I could continue motifs in my work that I had been using in my salt-fired wares.  

I find myself looking at amazing homes and wonderful green renovations in Austin on a variety of real estate websites.  I am drawn to contemporary homes as I think about our move(something Evangelina has always been drawn to)...It is so different from our gray-shingled neighborhood up here on the Cape.  So, I guess I'm making pots for my new home. Or....what I want my new home to look like.  

I guess this is yet another in a long line of rambling posts here but I figured I would try to put into words what was going on in my head.  

More design/making/pottery coming this week.  Now....if I can only design my studio to self-clean....I guess that's where my non-existent apprentice comes in.


abigail said...

I didn't send you that Austin real estate site so you could find a house!! you need to remodel or build! you need an belgo-lebanese-italian architect!!!

There was much discussion about craft/design/art at Cranbrook, and where ceramics fit in. It was pretty interesting- how to reconcile having work like mine and the work of functional potters in the same department- especially so because there are no real definitive answers, just answers for individual people. I think the only the time people go wrong is when they exclude people as a part of the discussion- which happens all to often.

Design has a very short history. Very, very short. Craft is it's predecessor and contemporary all at the same time. I have stacks and stacks of writings about it. When I can find them and am motivated, I will pass them along.

I am not so sure if I am making sense. I have a terrible, terrible cold, a 100 degree fever and have had 3 hot toddys in lieu of cold medicine. But it's an interesting discussion and I am excited to see what you make.

Keith said...

No worries...we're just getting ideas and neighborhoods. We'll be in Austin in December to meet with a realtor and we'll be renting for a year or 2 so Steven has plenty of time to figure out our house.

I'd love to read some of those writings if you can find them. I've always been averse to taking part in the craft versus art or the loose versus tight discussion that reigns in the functional pottery world.

Randy is fond of the term designer/maker and I have begun to adopt the phrase as well. I think it sums up fairly well what it means to be a studio craftsman now.

I'm not sure if I'm making sense anymore...maybe I should make a Hot Toddy as well.

I would love to hear from others if anyone else has any thoughts on the matter....

Bruce Christopher said...

Make one cup. Sell it for $4000. or Make one cup and make 99 additional ones just like it. Sell them for all for $40 each. Either way, the "artist" in you designs the cup (whether it's an edition of 1, 100 or 1000). The craftsman in you produces the series. Art is in the colors you choose, where you put the lines, the shape of the clay in your hands as you create it. Art is more important... without the art, you don't have the craft. You sir, are an artist.

Doug Kreeger said...

I particularly like Bruce's comment. It also speaks to the value of sharing your art, craft or whatever you want to call it, with a larger audience. Also, what's this about you moving to Austin?