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docweathers

Balance as a requirement for being aesthetically appealing

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Let me preface my question with, I have no training in art and so to those who do this may sound simplistic.

Balance seems to be a basic requirement for something to be considered aesthetically appealing. Symmetry is the simplest form of balance but there are other ways of achieving it, such as using color to offset mass. 

So my question is, are the ways of making things aesthetically appealing without being limited by the balance requirement? An explanation or possibly referring me to some reference would be helpful.

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First of all, symmetrical balance is a good solution. (Or in the case of pottery, a round pot.) People often dismiss symmetry as "too simple" but simplicity isn't a bad thing. The voice that says "too simple" is an insecure voice.

I personally think heirarchy is more important than balance. Whether your design is simple or complex, make your viewers see the design elements in the right order. I want you to notice this first, followed by this, followed by this, etc. When your heirarchy is clear the final result will all work together. When your design elements are competing with each other, the result looks out of whack.

This is why my pots are gray. I want everyone to see the forms first. 

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Mea, If I might contradict you here, I first noticed your booth, and your pots by the gray, or rather the richness of gray. It is not a cool gray as so often is seen, but a warmer gray leaning more towards the earth and things organic. I love your gray! At the same time, picking up one of your platters to see the clay bottom that is not one clay, but a neriage that simulates wood, but redefines it. excellent.

As to design Doc, I really believe in the way of balance that there are a number of factors involved. First, and naturally so there is the symmetry of the wheel, and the way it works with standard forms. Then there is the off balance symmetry of the wheel where the potter has either intentionally or naturally throws a bit off center, often these forms are more visually interesting than fully centered forms. Add to this the use of textures on the surface with impressed texture/pattern that is added before or after shaping. Both of these leave their own distortion to the clay, and require some form of balance to the visual surface, if not the form. So for me, working as a work in progress, on the wheel has a lot of variables, and some of these do not involve symmetry, but are often more asymmetric in attitude. 

When hand building, which I love, symmetry goes out the door, and most of my handbuilt forms are asymmetrical. . . .completely.  Check my blog for some of these.

 

best,

Pres

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1 hour ago, Pres said:

I first noticed your booth, and you pots by the gray, or rather the richness of gray.

Thanks for the feedback Pres!

I would argue that this was in the context of an art festival. Where most of the other booths are screaming for attention in various ways. Mine is one of the few booths that is not doing that, and therefore it stands out by being quiet.

Edit to add: You could say that I am managing heirarchy in this situation too. I WANT you to see all of the other booths first. Then you'll notice mine and feel the relief of not being bombarded by so much visual activity. Several times per day at shows, someone will tell me "it's so quiet/zen/peaceful in here" and I can see the relief on their face.

In the context of seeing one of my pots all by itself, you will see the form first. Imagine one of my pots glazed in bright red. What would you see first?

Edited by GEP
Pres and Marcia Selsor like this

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when I think of balance in functional pottery , I think of Robin Hopper's book, Functional Pottery and his pitcher with an X-ray of a hand and how the hand holds the handle of the pitcher. Pottery is more interaction with touch beyond the visual. That is why picking up and touching pottery is so important to the aesthetic, IMO.

Marca

 

Joy pots, Rae Reich and LeeU like this

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John's link travels to Percy's Principles of Art and Composition (Percy is the middle name of Melvin Bartel, the author) and he wrote these joyous principles. Well worth reading.  I have always approached my artwork from the points of view/beliefs he has written about so cleanly.  The ever-evolving  culture shifts (rabbit holes?) throughout history fairly radically affect how "we" (in any given century) view art and its related elements such as composition and balance.  I think it is safe to say that in today's culture  we accept and understand that asymmetry in art may be as beautifully balanced as the Golden Ratio or the rule of thirds-whatever-when approached with intent.  Seeking & possessing foundational knowledge about the perceived aesthetics of artwork (whether clay or other materials) is a valuable tool. Once I know "where I stand" so to speak, I am in a better position to use the clay the service of a desired outcome.  For me, to some degree, I say balance-schmalance; though if it wobbles, it better have a darn good reason for doing so. 

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John's links you me a good start to answering my question. It's going to take me a while to work my way through all of the related articles and it may lead me back to another version of my question.

 

Thanks

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Guest JBaymore
5 hours ago, docweathers said:

John's links you me a good start to answering my question. It's going to take me a while to work my way through all of the related articles and it may lead me back to another version of my question.

Glad that worked for some help.

best,

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

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Guest JBaymore
20 hours ago, LeeU said:

I think it is safe to say that in today's culture  we accept and understand that asymmetry in art may be as beautifully balanced as the Golden Ratio or the rule of thirds-whatever-when approached with intent. 

If you maybe watched my NCECA lecture on Chawan I noted this...... I found in studying a lot of famous Chawan, that the profile view is at or very close to the Golden Mean Ratio.

best,

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

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19 hours ago, JBaymore said:

If you maybe watched my NCECA lecture on Chawan I noted this...... I found in studying a lot of famous Chawan, that the profile view is at or very close to the Golden Mean Ratio.

best,

Do you have a video or transcript of this lecture that you could share with me?

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I find, that my students are confused by the concept of Balance.  They usually simplify it as "Symmetrical= The same on both sides" and "Asymmetrical= Different on each side".  It doesn't seem to occur to them that just because Asymmetrical isn't the same on both sides means it lacks "Balance". 

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