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When you have finished a piece and want to start something new, do you experience a certain "awwww, what should I do next?"

 

Are you bubbling over with ideas, have a thousand notebooks with drawings in it, drawings on every wall maybe of future projects etc.....  or are you sitting on your chair, chewing your fingernails, asking yourselve (... see above)?

 

Do you have some good ideas for us how to stay creative?

 

Evelyne

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I usually dig out one of my books on ancient people, I started on a Mimbres design obsession a few months ago.  Of course I had to order more books,  Mimbres are the ancient ancestors of the Hopi Indians, they lived in the Santa Fe area of the southwestern United States around 1000 A.D.  They are well known for their black and white designs on bowls that they cooked in and ate out of.  Sorry for the history lesson I just though the potters across the pond should know what I was talking about.    Denice

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I have way more ideas than I have time.

 

The problem with this is it's very easy to become scattered and distracted. Hard to find focus. I'm always having ideas of all kinds so actually sifting through them for the ones that truly inspire me can be it's own challenge.

 

I usually have umpteen projects in sewing, pottery, home decorating, and writing going at any one time. If I get stuck on one project I move to another for awhile and let my subconscious work on the first one for a bit. When I cone back to it, I'm fresh.

 

I have notebooks and binders filled with scraps of paper, scribbled drawings and quotes or a phrase to remind me of an idea, and whiteboards and chalkboards covered in lists. Ironically I function best in a minimal environment but I create excess with every breath. I'm constantly paring down so I don't get frozen by clutter.

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On finding creativity when the well runs dry: I find the more time I spend with things I love the more I find inspiration for my work. I love cooking and I get ideas all the time for pottery I want in my kitchen. I love making things for my son and ither children. I love nature. Often you can look at something you made and loved in the past and make a spinoff of it.

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Denice: always happy to get history lessons! Do you already have finished pieces in the Mimbres design?

 

Giselle: so you are the bubbling over type. I like how one can feel your energy in reading your posts! Do you think having different projects going on in different directions of craft helps to stay creative?

 

Evelyne

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Evelyne   I am loading the kiln tomorrow,  I'm not sure how they are going to turn out.  I am using a what I call  naked Majolica technique and adding gray in with the black and white designs. The pots are all coiled or pinched built in a clay that is a tan to brown with nice iron spots.  It takes me a little longer to put a glaze load together since my small kiln went out and I have to fill my big kiln.  Denice

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Every time that I start something new, it is not long into the process that I notice something else I could have, maybe should have done. So I am finishing the one when the other as another is being started or sketched out. The process leads to more and more innovation/creativity as I work. For wheel throwing it has started with a wish to throw looser for functional forms. This lead to ribbed line forcing the object cylinder off before shaping, that lead to pressing fingers and shapes into the clay, then the use of the crazy silicone hot pad, and that led to rubber and sponge stamps. I really have no idea where this is leading me, but I like it. Now I am trying to get the foam sheets cut with the KNK Zing air to make slab templates, an on going process not yet perfected. I am sure this is leading to a series of slab and wheel thrown combination pots, but when I don't know. I guess in the end, It is not about being creative, but being playful, curious, and open minded. I have had so many suggestions from folks here about loosening up, that I am using/pursuing, that I need to pass out some thanks on that front. I think working, working, working is the key, the other stuff just happens.

 

 

best,

Pres 

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I'm like Denice...I go look in books and sometimes online to a archaeological site report/article. For wheel thrown items, I probably will refer to the book,

Pre-Industrial Utensils. A book on wheel thrown examples, that

I don't have is, French Colonial Pottery. For coil built Indian replicas I might go with

Sun Circles and Human Hands or consult my personal drawings from the time I spent in the archaeological lab. I have other books that have examples of pottery from different regions of the USA. Mug House is a book about southwestern pottery.

Susquehanna Indians is a book of examples from the northeastern region,

particularly portions of Pennsylvania. So, I'd say books, magazines like

National Geographic, and note books supply me with most of the information that

feeds any creativity or interests in the field of pottery.

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keeping some of the books in the places i sit down helps.   one i like is "250 tips, techniques and trade secrets" because it teases the reader.  showing some of the process but not all and putting separate sections together in odd ways means you may see a pot several times.  some of these pots are also shown in another book that i cannot remember right now.  i get it from the library so cannot go look on my shelves for its name.

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I have SOO many things I want to make and so little time to make it.  I realized that nothing inspires me to make my own work more than making an order for somebody else,  I currently have a sculpture sitting in my living room under plastic half made.... it's huge. It probably dried up. I also have a mini sculpture that needs about 100 small sculptures to go with it and i have only made the main piece. AACK 

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I think just staying actively engaged can help keep creativity flowing.  As long as you're looking at pots and making pots and thinking about making pots, you're going to be creative.   It's like talking with friends in your my life.  Not much changes day to day, but there's always something to talk about with those people.  Sometimes you take more in and sometimes you're more about output, but as long as it's on your mind, you're being creative.

 

But sometimes it's like when you haven't seen an old friend in ages and you don't even know what to say.  Or sometimes, it's like you've been humbled/scolded by someone for doing something wrong, and there's a lot of anxiety in reconnecting. And anything you have to work at will eventually tell you all you need to know about yourself, good and bad, which are hard lessons, if you want to hear them.  I feel like some drift away from craft because of that, it's too harsh a teacher.  But but as long as you're engaged enough and stay engaged, creativity flows.

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Mark...

Don't you get some inspiration from your diving? I can see it in your work!

Marcia

Yes I do but its more when I'm making ceramic fish than throwing pots .For me the glazing and firing is my favorite part. 

I just do not spend much energy looking elsewhere for ideas I seem to be overwealmed with them and do not have the time to pursue most of them.I cannot recall when I looked -say at a book for images of what to make.I tend to be guided more on what my customers want than other inputs. If say I get a 100 requests to make a sponge holder then I will figure out how to get that done.It takes a lot of pressure now to get me to add another form to my list of forms and usually something falls off when one is added..

Mark

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Marcia: this is maybe the best way to clear the head and get more ideas for the future. Have fun in Rome! You know the saying: when in Rome, do as the Romans do?

 

Pres: it's a bit like "one idea is leading to another idea" and so on. Do you sometimes feel that you are loosing the big picture? Or are you not looking for the big picture at all?

 

Alabama: I think you can rely on the great knowledge you have from your time in the archaeological lab. And also here, this leads from one idea to the next. I am sure we all can learn a lot from the natives. Is writing a book about your knowledge an option for you?

 

oldlady: so you get your ideas mainly from books. Are you consulting them on a regular basis, or only in time of "I don't know what to do next"?

 

Rebekah: are you refering to the sculpture you once showed us? I like that one very much. You can always spray water on it and pack it in plastic again to continue working on it. Don't let it get completely dry!... and try to reserve say 1 hour/week to continue on the sculpture.

 

Mark: I am with Marcia, I am sure you get (or got) inspiration from the sea and underwater world.

 

Tyler: yes, I totally agree. Staying actively engaged let's the creativity flow. I know of people who "put the chairs up" relatively early in ther life (this is a saying in Europe when people retire and instead of living the rest of their life in doing something they always wanted, they "put the chairs up onto the table", sit down on the floor and wait until the Grim Reaper comes by to collect them....).

 

This is, by the way, also one of the forums reasons to exist: to kick each other to not sit down and give up too early :D

 

Evelyne

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evelyne, i didn't mean that i get all my ideas from books, just that i have an environment with pottery books beside me most of the time.  sometimes i see a snippet of something someone has done and i think, " that is one way to do that",  and i think of other ways.  i have never tried to copy something done by another potter, but adapt a technique being shown.

 

the head never rests, it is hard to sleep sometimes.

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Yesterday I went to the botanical gardens with my studio mate in Rome who was having a creative block. We found some amazing textures and vessel forms as we went through green houses. I got some new ideas for Obvara pieces.

Marcia

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Evelyne,

I guess I answer that question with another, what is the big picture? The completed piece, the culmination of a style, the whole picture of ceramics in the context of a society bent on cheaper and easier, or how to make texting devices out of pottery?  Really, for me it is all about the journey, not the big picture. I hope I never arrive, and that the big picture is continuously changing like the 42 inch tv we use so infrequently, but when it is on the big picture is constantly changing.

 

 

best,

Pres

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I make glaze tests. I've got one now that I got from the forum. It is a light blue with 5% rutile and .5% cobalt. It runs, so I adjusted with 3% EPK. I can hardly wait to see the test, then slap it on some mugs.

I try to get into the studio every day, especially in cold weather. It is so cozy in there. Hydronic heat in the floor!

TJR.

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Evelyne: I am definitely always bubbling over with everything. I actually will hop around a little when I'm very excited. It's too much happy to contain.

 

Since I started seriously pursuing pottery, I've found that it's a bit of a relief to do a project that is less time consuming with fewer steps. Crocheting finger puppets, making a necklace, or painting a wall is fairly quick and almost instantly gratifying. I come back to pottery refreshed and renewed. Interestingly, though I've always done crafts and sewing since I was a little girl, it's wheel throwing that has really brought a new dexterity to my previous hobbies.

 

I think creating is such a positive action for anyone, and for me it's something I truly need in my life. If I lost the use of my hands, I'd learn mouth painting or write stories because I lose a very important part of myself when I'm not making.

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I agree with Tyler, that work begets more work. It's an ongoing conversation of "what if..." And "wow, this is cool!", and finding things to be excited about.

I spent a couple of years really blocked and depressed. (One kind of fed into the other). I found that I had to approach the creativity from a place of abundance in my own head. Instead of looking at all the things I don't have/aren't experiencing, I have to look at what I do have, and ask "what can I make with these three things, the power of my own mind and the skills that I've practiced? How do I work with what I have experienced, and translate that into something wonderful and worth saying?

I had to seek out things to be excited about, even if it was tiny and mundane. Sometimes ESPECIALLY if it was tiny and mundane. To get out of that hole, I had to remind myself that I was resourceful, and that I was worthy of using those resources. (Which sounds very trite written here, but it was a damn lot of work.)

I had to stop looking at other people's work from a place of envy. I can look at work and say "yay for that person for making that, because now it's in the world and its good!" Or I can say "wow, they're making some great progress. I wonder where it will go?" But I am not allowed to say, even to myself "I wish I had done that." It cheapens what that artist has accomplished and it cheapens what I have done and what I will do in the future. The road I am on is different than theirs, and no less valuable.

 

I have to think about all of that, and then I have to stop thinking so much and go make.

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