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#76076 Finding Your Own Style...easy To Say

Posted by JBaymore on 24 February 2015 - 01:35 PM

Assignment:

 

Go online and into the (gasp) library (you know those things called books  ;)  ) and start looking at images.  Then start a "clip book" (digital or physical) of the pieces that you say, "I wish I made that" about.  Amass at least 100 images.

 

Then from that selection of images narrow it down to about 20 images that you REALLY feel strongly about.  Put the rest away.

 

Then (yup....writing) write out the commonalities of traits that you see in the remaining 20 objects.  Use the language of the principles of art and design for this as well as and words that stress feelings.  Write at length.  If initially you can't see connections... look deeper..... they WILL be there.

 

Then spend some time analyzing that set of commonalities you drafted.

 

Next....................... take one of your physical pieces from the photo you posted above... and set it on the table in front of you and next to the papers with the listings you just came up with.  Ask yourself "What could I do to change THIS piece to reflect some of the common characteristics that I listed"?  Write those thoughts down.  Then get a sketch pad and using the piece in front of you as a "model", draw the "new" piece as you now envision it.  Look at that fuirst sketch and revise it to improce on it.  Do that a few times.

 

Then once you have a couple of sketches..... go MAKE that piece you drew in the last sketch.

 

THEN.... (nope not done yet)............... look at the new piece and assess what you feel is working on it, and what could be improved.

 

Make the same exact piece again.... but making ONLY the changes you just articulated.  Everything that you did NOT say should be changed should look like a Xerox copy of the prior piece.

 

Repeat this process on THIS object a number of times.

 

DO this diligently on the first object...and then a few others the same way................ and you'll no longer be asking about how to do this.

 

best,

 

...............................john
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#77494 Authenticity, My Own Personal Struggle With What It Means

Posted by Tyler Miller on 17 March 2015 - 01:55 AM

This is something I wrote to articulate a struggle I've been having with my own work and to help me resolve my feelings about it.  I thought I'd share because it may help others crystallize their own artistic project.  I will disclaim that the contents may not sit well with you the reader, but it is not meant to be directed outward, this comes from my own perception of myself and no one else.  Please bear that in mind. This is 100% an internal and personal criticism directed at myself, no one else.

 

I’ve come to the conclusion that my impulses as a potter have come into conflict.  On the one hand, i want to explore and understand EVERY form.  i want to know why Wedgewood is beautiful, why chawan can be perfection and how to get there, how to make the most perfect imitation of a longquan celadon, or get the highest gloss possible on an attic red-figure copy.

 

But on the other, I can’t help but feel like I’m betraying myself and my own potential for a naturalistic artistic vision if I carry those desires too far.

 

Horace and Hamada ring in my ears.  I can’t help but think about what Hamada said about the pretentiousness of Japanese potters adding granite to their clay to make it like the prized clays of Shigaraki that naturally had it present, or the excessive effort put into applying hake me brush strokes in a beautiful manner when the Korean potters who came up with the technique were just hoping to cover the red clay of the body.

 

Indeed, there are many Hamada copyists who miss entirely Hamada’s artistic vision.  Hamada was a brilliant potter who could work in any style and formulate any glaze to fit his purpose, but he chose to be a Mashiko potter and work within the limitations of that folk tradition.  The boldness and revolutionary nature wasn’t his forms, it wasn’t his subject matter, it was that he let those decisions make themselves as he set down roots.  Leach (and Cardew) tried to do something similar, but he found that he couldn’t authentically work in the English country potter tradition as he’d hoped.  Cardew’s attempts especially failed at making slipware commercially viable the way he’d hoped.  After all, it wasn’t too long after Cardew was struggling to make it work that the last old time English country potteries closed.  I suspect potters like Isaac Button would've thought Cardew “daft” for being too precious with “nought but clay.”

 

Leach’s true success was his marketing.  The studio potter was his invention and I’m not quite sure I properly know what being a studio potter is all about.  Maybe you do.  But the concept eludes me.

 

What bothers me, however, is how many Hamada and Leach copyists exist out there.  How many little brown jugs and pitchers exist, how many tea bowls are thrown, only to be an awkward way to drink Earl Grey or a latté, or how many anagamas are built in North America and Europe.  It may all be a part of the natural progression of studio potters—the artist’s indulgence in the process seems to be part of the process, and that’s fine.  But to what extent are we really just adding granite to our finely levigated clay?  To what extent are we just lingering too long over how we’re going to apply our slip with a rough brush, when maybe we should be thinking about how best to do justice to our art as a continuation of ourselves?

 

It’s too easy to don masks and pretend we’re one thing or another.  Playing at pretend is almost a right in the western world.  We’ve allowed ourselves the luxury of saying “well, I’m pagan, but I really like buddhist meditation, and I wear a rosary to honour my great aunt, who was a nun—I can still feel her spirit with me.”  To me, as I get older, this kind of pastiche of cultural appropriation seems to miss the point entirely.  We can dissemble ourselves into oblivion, when the point of it all is to seek and express truth.  Can a westerner truly grasp wabi-sabi?  Maybe academically, but I think we only have limited choices before us when it comes to approaching another culture, we can step into it through a contextualized “window” of study,  we can compartmentalize its attributes into our own, preexisting culture, or we can let it wash over us and envelope us and change us, but even then, we’re never quite authentically a part of it.  Disagree?  Examine how you feel about immigrants who come to where you live, do they ever really become a part of your culture in your eyes?  Is the person with an accent ever really American/Canadian/Mexican/British/French/Swiss/or Japanese?  I want them to feel like they are, but they know as well as I do that’s not an identity they get. Their children and their children’s children get that, but never them.

 

So too, I feel it is with culture.  We will always have a cultural “accent” when we work within an artistic context other than our own.  I’m getting pretty good at throwing Hellenic forms and I make a decent chawan, but they’re not real, my Canadian accent is too thick for me to speak proper Greek (οὐκ ὀρθως ἑλληνίζω).  And while it’s a good and acculturating experience for me to try and expose myself to different cultures and ideas, at some point it becomes an exercise in hiding from oneself.  At some point that in-between space between cultures becomes an insulation.  Something like:  I cannot identify with my own culture, so I adopt another to act as a mask among my own people, a means of explaining myself through other peoples and hiding myself the same way.  Maybe the artist has a right to do this, but I’ve never been comfortable with that kind of conceptual art.  It seems too much like the Animé fan girls who obsess over Japanese culture and pine over its superiority in order to compensate for their own struggle to fit in.  Or a friend of mine who constantly travels, with no roots anywhere.  When things get “too real” in any one place, he moves on, and finds a new set of friends and a new culture.

 

But all this begs the question?  What do I do as an artist to be authentic to myself and my work?  I think Horace’s Ars Poetica has a venerable answer.  A painter cannot legitimately paint a horse’s neck with a human head and all manner of feathers and features down below.  At least, not without proper context.  A writer sounds ridiculous writing a day’s events in purple prose.  There’s a proper register and justice to be done to everything.  A proper way to work with clay.  Indeed, i think that’s what the Japanese are talking about when they talk about the “flavour” of the clay.  It’s like a wine’s terroir.  A certain kind of climate does the best justice to a certain kind of grape.  And so too, I think a certain land produces a certain kind of clay, a certain culture a certain set of vessels, and a certain person a certain kind of approach.  There’s little place for obfuscation in this, I think.  No real reason to try to appropriate another culture, at least, for any length of time.  The culture you grew out of is culture enough.  And really, the best artists I know, seem to shoot at something above it anyway, they look too deeply inward.  Their imitators, however, seem all too superficial by comparison.




#70289 Overcoming Insecurity

Posted by LeeU on 20 November 2014 - 10:45 AM

OK, Ms. Guinea "furry critter" potter............this is from MY experience, so try not to personalize or view as targeted criticism...that is not where I am coming from  :wub:

 

When I was a student at the School of the Arts (Crafts Department, VCU) several instructors gave me painful "pull-ups". Pull-ups are blunt, sometimes harsh, reality checks that are used in an old-school drug treatment modality called Therapeutic Community. Screw up, and you'll find yourself scrubbing baseboards with a toothbrush or sitting on the Hot Seat to receive scorching feedback, or getting onerous pull-ups from the community.

 

Well, I had an instructor who was forever giving me pull-ups. And I really got my feelings hurt and got very discouraged and was about to quit school. He'd say things like "Art is not therapy...it you need emotional help, get out of my class and go see a social worker."  This type of comment might be delivered after I had to defend my lopsided vessel by disclosing that it was "off' because my hands were shaking when I centered because I was upset about "something". 

 

The day I was going to quit I ran into another art instructor, and I was crying at the time. She asked what was wrong, sat on the steps with me, listened while I moaned about this instructor, and then said "Don't you dare quit. You just do your best and come see me if anyone gives you any ######." I lived to fight another day, and earned my degree.  

 

(What neither of them knew was that I was in the shape I was in because I had been severely beaten by someone who knew how to not leave bruises where they show, that I was in a shelter with my toddler, that the batterer had totally destroyed my portfolio the night before the final critique, and that voc rehab was only very reluctantly paying for my school because I refused to work at McD's where they tried to place me. I insisted...with threat of legal action, since I had/have disabilities...that I could do something about and with my life if I could just go to art school.) 

 

Long story long: I had to get off the pity-pot, stop awfulizing and cease  whining about my sorry state of affairs, stop victimizing self, (participating in the killing of my own spirit by staying stuck), cop a positive attitude, and otherwise get a grip and make tough choices and tough changes to get myself out of the morass.   Making a daily Gratitude List, as much as I hated it, also helped. I had so little gratitude that I had to start by listing my ten fingers and ten toes, I kid you not. Oh, and I did avail myself of some therapy.   :wacko:

 

Eventually I came to see that the comments on my work that Mr. No Sensitivity provided were just as valuable, in terms of improving my skills, as the pep-talks from Ms. Nice-guy. Today, I have to own the fact that, by virtue of being a student, I ASKED FOR feedback on my work, and thus can't complain that I got it! LOL  :rolleyes:    




#77134 What Do You Get Out Of This Forum Interaction?

Posted by oldlady on 11 March 2015 - 09:29 AM

i will never write a book, i have nobody to leave my studio and equipment, i will not have made an impression on the clay world when i am gone.  maybe something i have said will matter to someone here.  those little "likes" are nice to see.




#80870 Space Plates

Posted by Mark C. on 05 May 2015 - 08:48 PM

I had no idea when shooting those fish folks would comment on the space plate on end of table. These two came out of separate kilns one day apart. Both are cone 10 reduction fired on porcelain and are about 10 inch. Each has three glazes with a slight overlap.

Glazes where poured (with a funnel pitcher) and a ear syringe is how I applied my white glaze

These glazes like it a bit cool and unreduced to work best so I put them in my cold spots.

I have been doing these for a very long time on certain forms

I'm in deep space most of the time so they seem a nice fit for me. 

Mark

 

 

Attached Files




#80140 Community Challenge #1

Posted by Mark C. on 26 April 2015 - 08:31 PM

I had no plans of taking the time for another project -that said my (landscape with clouds square plate) that came out of last glaze kiln fits the bill

so FINAL ENTRY.

sorry about the poor photo.

Mark

Attached Files




#76010 *gasp* Handle Sacrilege!

Posted by Benzine on 23 February 2015 - 08:12 PM

you can almost describe pulling as linear throwing.

 

That's essentially how I explain it to my students.

 

Also, another reason I enjoy pulled handles, is because I get to demonstrate it straight-faced, to a group of teenagers, while watching them try to not laugh...




#67454 Well Said

Posted by Min on 08 October 2014 - 11:39 AM

I came across the little anonymous blurb below on Bailey's facebook page...

 

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#64331 New Hampshire Institute Of Art Anagama Build - Images

Posted by JBaymore on 11 August 2014 - 10:28 PM

Some people asked me to keep some updates here on out progress.  So...... here are a couple of shots of the first two days of the build:

 

Day One

 

Attached File  GettingStarted-8-11.jpg   302.88KB   3 downloads

 

 

Attached File  RoasterArea-8-11.jpg   362.4KB   1 downloads

 

Day Two

 

Attached File  SecondDay-8-11.jpg   368.16KB   3 downloads

 

 

Attached File  SecondDay-2-8-11.jpg   334.55KB   2 downloads

 

 

 

More to come in this thread.  Check back every day or so if you are interested.

 

best,

 

.................john




#81038 Community Challenge #2

Posted by Biglou13 on 07 May 2015 - 09:48 PM

plant pot that has been influenced from your research into the season of spring.

 

i have 3 potentials ...

a plant pot  to me ...includes vase.... vase like vessels

now to research  plant or plant like forms and their spring like relationship to vessels..... i wish there are ikebana people closer to north florida

 

ill break the ice with

 work in progress

 

http://community.cer...oat-style-vase/

Attached File  gallery_25544_653_219195.jpg   94.06KB   0 downloads




#80753 Ceramic Fish Fresh Caught Today

Posted by Mark C. on 04 May 2015 - 09:21 PM

I unloaded some fish today

I took some junker photos with I-phone as someone wished to see them.

I string them with stainless 19 gauge wire on backs

The 4th photo shows the hanger holes-I put on the backs-If i'm insecure with the hangers I add glaze to attachment as sen with black glaze in 4th photo

All fish are curved somewhat which is hard to see in photos-that way you can place the hangers and they look more real-I use newspaper and it burns out as well as clay supports like on that Angler fish

My reds came out great today as you can see on some functional forms

These fish are schooling for a 3 day show in a few days-they hang on some pro-panels

Halibut -trigger fish -long nose butterfly-seahorse-orca-clownfish-angel fish-great white shark- deep water angler fish

I have been lucky enough to see most of these live underwater while scuba diving of from my boat. I have photos all underwater of most all except the deepwater angler who lives very deep

I have only seen Orca from boats and shore. 

I used to make them as realistic as possiable -now i just have fun glazing them wild

I only take them to shows I know they sell at which is not everywhere (like in AZ.)

All are saltwater species as I'm a saltwater guy.These will go with my tuna and a few others I have already. I have yet to make a freshwater fish

Last photo is from  old 2004 booth in Washington state-shows how I display them 

 

Mark

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#80129 Community Challenge #1

Posted by Chris Campbell on 26 April 2015 - 04:09 PM

Final Entry

"Tornado Watch" bowls

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#79112 Dressing Up The Display

Posted by GEP on 11 April 2015 - 06:00 PM

I cut and sewed my tablecloths to fit my tables exactly, with the hems hovering right above the ground. I fold the sides around to make boxed sides, then pin them in place with upholstery pins. They are cheap, and fast to set up and take down. I'm not a great seamstress, but I can sew a straight line.

 

 

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#74635 Community Challenge #1

Posted by GEP on 01 February 2015 - 11:25 AM

FINAL ENTRY - GEP

 

I'll go first! This is a design I make on a regular basis, therefore my entry is ready to go.

 

"Serving Bowl with Clouds" 11 inches across.

 

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#71965 What Was Your Greatest Leap Forward This Year?

Posted by GEP on 16 December 2014 - 10:33 AM

My biggest leap forward this year was the result of leaving my teaching job at the end of 2013. I do miss the classroom environment and seeing my students/friends every week. But having all of my time devoted to studio work resulted in giant leaps forward in productivity, design of new pieces, more shows, and a whopping 40% increase in sales (not exaggerating ... I'm still trying to wrap my head around this number). I also never felt strung-out exhausted this fall, which had been the norm in previous years. Somewhere along the way this year, my work crossed over another threshold. After several years of applying, I was juried into the 2015 Smithsonian Craft Show, so next year is already looking bright.




#71770 Production Potter Productivity

Posted by neilestrick on 12 December 2014 - 03:13 PM

As a kiln repair tech, and former clay & glaze tech for one of the clay/glaze manufacturers in the midwest, I have learned that I spend more time asking questions than answering questions. When a customer calls with a technical problem, I have to ask a ton of questions in order to get to the root of the problem, and even then people often leave out important information. I once had a customer call to complain that his terra cotta body, which he had mixed himself, had little white specs in it. He was sure that the Redart we had sold him was contaminated, and he was NOT happy. I asked him for his recipe, which he gave me, and there was nothing odd about it- just Redart and ball clay if I remember right. We talked about his water supply, his mixing methods, his pug mill, etc, etc, etc. Finally, after all that, I asked him if he was putting barium carbonate in the clay body (to prevent scumming). Well, yes, of course, he said. Everyone does, right? I asked him if he was blunging it in water before adding it to the clay body. No, he said. That was the source of the white specs- the barium wasn't dispersing very well when added dry.

 

My point is, we often leave out important facts when describing our situation because we assume they are general knowledge, and we often assume certain facts to be general knowledge when answering questions. In a forum situation like this it's very difficult to get all the facts out there, and it's very difficult to answer questions without making assumptions. There are shortcomings on both sides of the conversation because this is a slow, tedious way to have a conversation. But it doesn't mean anyone is intentionally trying to be difficult, on either side.




#69459 For Christmas.

Posted by bciskepottery on 06 November 2014 - 09:35 PM

Attached File  candles.jpg   117.68KB   82 downloads


#3228 Amaco Ancient Jasper Question

Posted by Steve Lampron on 22 October 2010 - 03:17 PM

ANCIENT JASPER: Hello all and stay with me as I am and old guy and not blog capable. I am the VP of Technical Services here at AMACO and the engineer that developed this glaze. I am very sad to hear that some of you are having difficulty with this glaze. It is actually a very easy glaze to work with and will yield excellant results. Let me give you a few tips on this type of glaze in general an then some specifics about ANCIENT JASPER.
Many midrange and high fire glazes used by ceramic artists are what I call FLOAT glazes. These are the pretty glazes that tend to seperate out different colors in areas where the glazes are thicker. ANCIENT JASPER is this type of glaze and what it floating out is iron oxide. Iron is one of the more interesting colorants simply because it can be in so many different oxidation states. This simply means that it can make a ton of different colors. With any float glaze, enough thickness of glaze must be applied in order for the excess iron to float to the surface. If the glaze is thinly applied, the glaze will tend to be drier and a very unpleasant color.
This glaze was not developed where any massive amount of glaze needs to be applied. If it had needed this I would have told everyone on the label. We actually never had any issues getting red at all. I always try new glazes on all of our clay bodies to make sure there isn't some issue I need to know of. We also fire them at cone 5 and cone 6 to check stability. We found no issues with this glaze on either account. By now you probably saying, great but it didn't work for me. I will list some good parameters below for you to follow and I am 100% sure you will find this glaze simple to use and that it will yield great results.
1. Temperature: The red color is actually the first color to float and the use of more heat will tend to make it turn to the purples, yellows, browns and black. This means you will tend to see slightly (and I do mean slightly) more red at cone 5 than cone 6. No soak is needed for this glaze and actually soaking it will cause more red to fade into the other colors.
2. Thickness: The glaze must be applied with enough thickness to float the iron.
3. Kiln cycle: I fire all the glazes we develop in an electric kiln at fast, medium and slow speeds. Red color will be developed at all speeds but the faster the firing ~6 hours (tons of red) the better the results. I always quality check each batch at cone 5 in 8 hours. 10-12 hour cycles will cause more red to fade to the other colors. This is most critical within 200 defrees of peak. If your elements are weak and it takes the kiln a long time to achieve the last 200 degrees, you will find less red.
4. Cool down: No special cool down is needed nor will it help develop any red color. Letting the kiln simply shut off and cool naturally is all that is needed.
4. Clay Body: I have tested this on porcelain, typical stoneware bodies, bodies with grog, bodies without grog, brown colored bodies, etc. I develop red on all of them. I have found that when using our #1 Porcelain slip that the color transition away from the red tones is very pronounced (although it makes a rainbow of the other colors). This is because for a cone 5 porcelain slip alot of soft flux is needed to tighten the body. The flux in the body mixes with the glaze and actually makes the glaze softer (simulating more heat).
5. Texture: This glaze loves texture and will make some incredible colors. The texture makes the glaze get thinner and thicker in areas. The thicker the glaze the easier it is for it to stay red. The thinner the glaze gets the hotter that area of glaze gets and it shifts to the other colors.

These simple tips should help everybody that wants to make ANCIENT JASPER work. I suggest running a few tests of glaze thickness in your next kiln load and follow the firing rules above. Three nice coats on any typical stoneware body, fired to cone 5 or 6 in 6-8 hours with no soak and no special cooling curve will yield pieces just like the ones we showed in the ads. These were just pots we made in the lab. Honestly I have never actually made a pot that didn't make colors just like those pieces.
I will attempt to post a few more photos here today and next week we will post a board I made with all of our clay bodies fired at slow, medium and fast so you can see the slight differences.
Let me know if this helps.
The photo files are too big to upload. I will have someone help me make them smaller for next week.
Steve.........


#80650 Just Because The Sale Is Next Week!

Posted by oldlady on 03 May 2015 - 05:15 PM

good news.   i took the compressor back to sears, it is a tiny store and i had low expectations.  they found a compressor online similar to mine, the model number was almost right and they printed out two diagrams of the machine and it has a note that it is oil free.   so.   nowhere to put oil.  no way inside.  

 

i bought a new one, 10 gallon, with a hose, and 3 accessories,(don't know what) for $181.22 including tax.  about what the old one was in 2002.  it will be in reserve because i plan to turn on the old one and run it until it burns up.  not even taking the new one out of the car.       yet.

 

not only was it a good experience but the lady behind the desk is a computer expert and will graduate from shepherd university soon.  she is coming out to show me how to post pictures!   and maybe set up a website!!!   win, win!!! :D 




#14538 A humbling experience

Posted by Pres on 06 March 2012 - 10:00 AM

I left home on Thursday afternoon excited to be going to my first pottery conference. The slate of professionals demonstrating had a mix of veteran potters with younger established potters. I had high hopes of returning home rejuvenated as the winter freezes are almost over here in PA. Eight and a half hrs. later I was getting a room and settling in for the night as it was past 10pm. Next morning with the GPS to guide me I showed up at the Randolph Arts Guild to be directed to the conference at the First Baptist Church. The church had a large meeting hall that I walked into seeing a stage of 3 potters with large flat screen TV's behind. To my left was John Glick, center was Cynthia Bringle, with Jack Troy directly in front-what a hand to draw to! They demonstrated all morning while bandying back and forth with good humor, and Jack read several thought provoking poems about life and clay. Three very different styles of functional pottery, varied techniques for surface treatment, and firing. To watch these individuals together was marvelous. After an excellent lunch, we had Ronan Perterson, Martha Grover, and Jake Johnson on stage. These three were also in very different in technique from the flowing organic porcelain forms of Martha's, to Ronans utilitarian colorful earthenware, and Jake's organic functional stoneware. Each had their own style, their own philosophy about clay, and their own personal voice. Wonderful interplay on stage, as they demonstrated throwing of forms, Martha throwing "bottomless", Jake pinching forms off of the hump, and Ronan with broad measured rims. They spoke back and forth about what was important to them with the forms they were making, and interjected tidbits about family life and life as a potter. The day ended with an excellent meal, and back to the room to bed.

Next morning the venue was reversed ending with the veterans, as they trimmed pots they had made, decorated forms, and talked about their work. We had more poems from Jack, more philosophy about sales and pottery from Cynthia and John. In the morning the youngsters assembled and trimmed. Martha assembled a multi-spouted bud vase with pulled dogbone handles. Ronan cut the bottoms out of pots and distorted them adding new bases, while Jake assembled a teapot and made salt and pepper sets. The day had been exciting, insightful, and very humbling. I began to wonder if what I was doing was even worth pursuing, and so I left the last session conflicted as I headed to dinner. After dinner was to be a trip out to Dwight Holland's house. The way I was feeling, I almost didn't go, but decided to anyway, after all I had traveled Eight hours, maybe never to come this way again.

The trip to Dwight's house was quite something. GPS will travel works well if you have the right address all the time. Alas I didn't have the right address so I went back to the The Exchange where dinner had been to get better directions, and finally made it. Walking up to the house in the dark the first thing I saw was a large elk rack hanging off the wall, hmmm. Inside the door to the right, I was suddenly breathless, there on the walls, on shelves 2-3 deep, on the floor were pots-pots everywhere. I felt almost claustrophobic, the walls wanting to close in on me. So many fine pieces of pottery in one place, and as I turned to look across into the room further, crowded with conversing people, I saw more pots, casseroles here, pitchers, floor vases, jars, everything imaginable. Deep breathes later I started to gather my poise, and looked closer. We had been told by Dwight to pick pots up, feel them, enjoy them; I dared not. So I looked, working my way across the room. At one point looking at a shelf full of casseroles and bowls " Any of these seems familiar" Jack Troy asked. I had seen them before, in pictures, black and white and color, but here they were. I was told Jack yes they were familiar. He asked me about a piece on the end " who did this one" I couldn't answer him, it looked like salt glazing, but I was so uncertain of anything I answered "I don't know". "Warren Mackenzie" was his answer. We discussed things a short time ending with look and learn from Jack. I felt shamed, that I couldn't place pieces I had taught about without my notes! Had I not known anything, was what I had done for so many years just a shadow of what I should have could have done? These thoughts were with me as I went from room to room, looking all through the house, every room had its shelves of pottery every room priceless in the gathering of the history of 20th century ceramics, and the windows other pots gave on ceramics through the ages. Thousands of pots all in one home! I finally lifted some of the pots, felt them, learned form them, looked more closely at them once I got over the overwhelmed feeling I had when I walked into the house. I also learned a few things too. The size, the colors, the textures, the scope of what these pots were in person were not anywhere near what we saw in books and magazines. Nor was the understanding of the pieces the same when seen as in a museum, as it was when touched, felt with closed eyes, and enjoyed by being right there to do so. I also realized, that part of my inability to identify the Warren Mackenzie or others on the table was that I had only seen them in books or magazines, my understanding of these pots had been flawed all along.

Don't wait like I did until you are in your later years to go to a ceramics conference! Get out, take the time to see the wonderful people out there working in person, get a chance to see good pots up close. Live a little!

I also wish that when you post pots in the forum, or in the galleries that you will give some reference as to size. Seeing a Robin Hopper vase that stands 20" tall when your perceptions from books may say 14" gives you an inaccurate understanding of the piece. Not important you say? Let me approach it like this. We all know The Picnic on the Grass by Seurat. We know that it is a large pointillist work. So what. I had thought that I knew it also, until I saw it in Chicago years ago. I walked a room, turned a corner and there it was between two large doorways. It sublimated the walls, the room and everything in it. The control it had of the space due to is size, its color, the glowing vibrancy of the the small dots interacting with each other had a power beyond any understanding from a book. The sheer size was breathtaking. I finally understood the Picnic on the Grass. so post some reference to size in your work pictures, or show them in context to something we know as size. We as artists have always had to photograph our work to show the work and only the work for shows, but does that show the casual viewer everything they need to know; I think not.

After I got home, I walked out to the shop the next day, and looked at some mugs I had made before leaving, handling them, looking them, and breathing quietly. I realized in the end, that maybe I should continue on, I had some orders to do, some thoughts about pots I could pursue. I'll muddle through. . .