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MadMudder

The Piece or the Glaze?

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I used to throw functional pottery and not much else. Had a great palette of cone 10 reduction glazes and that is what I did.

 

Then, I started making fountain tube things for water gardens with lots of applique type stuff and needed some color slips but they always looked like heck coming out of the gas kiln. That branched off into architectural ceramics, wall sconces, tile pieces, bird feeders, (there are so many cardinals, blue birds, blue jays etc in my yard eating from the bird feeders) bird baths etc.

 

Now I have an electric kiln, just had an excellent firing with many cone 6 glaze colors that I collected on line and my good friend Peter King. (I know I am name dropping but he and his wife Xinia Marin are such amazing people and potters.) Ginny at the Carolina Clay Connection also helped me move into the new firing techniques I am using now.

 

Now it is hard to tell what to emphasize. Sure the piece itself has to look excellent but is it the glaze or the pot? Both?

 

How do you find the balance?? How to keep one from overwhelming the other? Are there guide lines?

 

Beth

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Well, I spent ten minutes this morning looking at the best/worst dressed at last nights golden globe awards so I am feeling uniquely qualified.

There are all these beautiful people with well toned, shapely bodies and they can still manage to look terrible in the wrong color, the wrong style or the over designed dress or suit. Same thing happens if you put the most glorious outfit on the wrong body. So I guess you have to develop the ability to see clearly, edit with purpose, listen to the right people and fail many times before you nail it.

Same with pots. Each element has to complement the other and the ability to do this comes with time to train your eye to be a good judge of what you are seeing.

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Guest JBaymore

Well, I spent ten minutes this morning looking at the best/worst dressed at last nights golden globe awards so I am feeling uniquely qualified.

There are all these beautiful people with well toned, shapely bodies and they can still manage to look terrible in the wrong color, the wrong style or the over designed dress or suit. Same thing happens if you put the most glorious outfit on the wrong body. So I guess you have to develop the ability to see clearly, edit with purpose, listen to the right people and fail many times before you nail it.

Same with pots. Each element has to complement the other and the ability to do this comes with time to train your eye to be a good judge of what you are seeing.

 

 

Incredibly well said, Chris!

 

best,

 

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

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Chris is so right. And I also believe that an artist needs to find some glazes that are unique, especially when in shows with other local potters, it is sort of like "Everyone wore the same dress." at some shows. In fact all of our work should strive to be unique and it sounds like Beth has conquered that part by following her insight and making garden and architectural art. rolleyes.gif

 

I would love to see pictures of some of your garden art Beth. Do you have a website with photos?

Well, I spent ten minutes this morning looking at the best/worst dressed at last nights golden globe awards so I am feeling uniquely qualified.

There are all these beautiful people with well toned, shapely bodies and they can still manage to look terrible in the wrong color, the wrong style or the over designed dress or suit. Same thing happens if you put the most glorious outfit on the wrong body. So I guess you have to develop the ability to see clearly, edit with purpose, listen to the right people and fail many times before you nail it.

Same with pots. Each element has to complement the other and the ability to do this comes with time to train your eye to be a good judge of what you are seeing.

 

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Chris is so right. And I also believe that an artist needs to find some glazes that are unique, especially when in shows with other local potters, it is sort of like "Everyone wore the same dress." at some shows. In fact all of our work should strive to be unique and it sounds like Beth has conquered that part by following her insight and making garden and architectural art. rolleyes.gif

 

I would love to see pictures of some of your garden art Beth. Do you have a website with photos?

Well, I spent ten minutes this morning looking at the best/worst dressed at last nights golden globe awards so I am feeling uniquely qualified.

There are all these beautiful people with well toned, shapely bodies and they can still manage to look terrible in the wrong color, the wrong style or the over designed dress or suit. Same thing happens if you put the most glorious outfit on the wrong body. So I guess you have to develop the ability to see clearly, edit with purpose, listen to the right people and fail many times before you nail it.

Same with pots. Each element has to complement the other and the ability to do this comes with time to train your eye to be a good judge of what you are seeing.

 

 

 

Sometimes it isn't a unique glaze, but the way it is used/set up/complemented by so much of the rest of the form. All too often I have struggled with finding the perfect combination for a unique piece and end up ruining it with glaze because the time put into texture and detail on the wet piece never comes through in the glaze firing. In that respect I have learned that the KISS principle is often the way to go when there is so much more visually going on. It is probably the main reason I prefer to view my pieces in the leather hard stage where the color, sheen, shadows and texture are fresh and clean.

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Well, I spent ten minutes this morning looking at the best/worst dressed at last nights golden globe awards so I am feeling uniquely qualified.

There are all these beautiful people with well toned, shapely bodies and they can still manage to look terrible in the wrong color, the wrong style or the over designed dress or suit. Same thing happens if you put the most glorious outfit on the wrong body. So I guess you have to develop the ability to see clearly, edit with purpose, listen to the right people and fail many times before you nail it.

Same with pots. Each element has to complement the other and the ability to do this comes with time to train your eye to be a good judge of what you are seeing.

 

 

Love the dress analogy!! In my mind's eye I can see all sorts of interesting pictures.

Back to work I guess.

I will post some pics as soon as possible.

B

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"The Piece or the Glaze?"

What a fantastic, philosophical question !!

I think if you ask this question you are already doing the right thing, because then you know that the BALANCE need to be right, for YOU.

Some people will focus on:

 

* form

* function

* texture

* glaze & colour

* the balance between any of these things.

 

You do not have to be good at all these things, pottery is a multi-disciplinary thing, but balance your talents in some aspects for the best outcome.

 

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ok, I'm going to state my honest feelings, but I'm ok if no one agrees with me. I think form is more important than surface. Period.

 

If you build a worthy form, you really can't ruin it with bad glazing. Even if you tried something specific with the glaze and it didn't work out, that's still a beautiful pot. Wait until your glazing expectations fade, and you'll see the form again.

 

If you build a lousy form, you can't make it better with glaze.

 

Sometimes in my classes when we are glazing, I say "do you want to know the single most important factor in becoming a great glazer?" Everyone gets quiet and leans in to hear the answer, and I say quietly "make nice pots."

 

Mea

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Michael Cardew said; "Form is 90% of the pot."

So ,you can ruin a great pot with a bad glaze or a bad handle, or you can make it more beautiful with a great glaze, but you have to have the structure to put the glaze on. I like Chris's analogy from the Golden Globes, although I didn't watch it.

I was thinking about her post about the beautiful piece. I then dreamt that I had a piece in a grat ceramic book, say "500 Teapots." I showed my prof the book, and said I was in it. Then I couldn't find the picture. He was standing there waiting, and I had a tear in my eye. Yes, it was only a dream, but these thingS affect us pschychologically. I guess I still look up to that prof. even though it's been 35 plus years.

Hope I am not depressing anyone. I will try and post some shots of my work tonight.

TJR.

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Isn't there a folksy American saying that says; " If you put lipstick on a pig, it's still a pig."

Or, you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Doesn't matter how great the glaze is, if it's a bad pot, it's a bad pot.

TJR. again!

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Speaking of bad pots and lipstick on pigs ...

My crazy making moment is when someone has a horrible bisque pot and says "I guess I'll raku it.

Like that will fix everything.

 

 

 

No, you salt glaze It!

I enjoy your posts.

TJR.

macdoodled likes this

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This is turning out to be a darned interesting topic.

 

I went to a workshop on "how to fire your kiln." It was supposed to be for any kiln.

It was all about the PROCESS.

 

Well it wasn't. The process was raku. Raku doesn't translate over to anything and I guess I was naive because that was the stage where I had changed from making pots into making garden stuff and I needed a different palette. I thought this class would do the trick. Um no.

 

Finding the right glaze with the right base combination is an art form too. Zinc (zircopax) can turn all your greens to brown. Finding a good, durable, well fitting glaze for over the colors is crucial. I just found one!!!!!

 

Applying the glazes to the piece is also very crucial. Should you spray it? Paint it? Throw it from across the room??

 

It all has to work. There is no magic key. Thank goodness I seem to be on my way now. I wish the same for all my potter friends.

 

My hub is coming home today from 2 weeks of traveling. We can set up and take some pics to post.

 

Thanks for the thought provoking conversation.... keep it coming. Please.

 

Beth

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Speaking of bad pots and lipstick on pigs ...

My crazy making moment is when someone has a horrible bisque pot and says "I guess I'll raku it.

Like that will fix everything.

 

 

 

No, you salt glaze It!

I enjoy your posts.

TJR.

 

 

 

Nope...you take it home because you have some acrylic paints and glitter..... Trina

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Speaking of bad pots and lipstick on pigs ...

My crazy making moment is when someone has a horrible bisque pot and says "I guess I'll raku it.

Like that will fix everything.

 

 

 

No, you salt glaze It!

I enjoy your posts.

TJR.

 

 

 

Nope...you take it home because you have some acrylic paints and glitter..... Trina

 

 

Did you know that you can't use glitter in schools now because you might scratch your retina? So you take your piece home to apply glitter and you injure your eye. That would be a bad day.

TJR.

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How do you find the balance?? How to keep one from overwhelming the other? Are there guide lines?

I think its a combo-if the piece is busy-keep the glaze simple-if the piece is dull snazz it up with a snappy glaze

In my almost all strictly functional world -I have been heading for years into the brightly snappy glazes on all forms

mainly due to better sales which is what keeps me eating well.

Mark

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I read all the posts again and tried to answer, but I guess after thinking about it, the real question is what is good art? and is what you're trying to express and what you have in your minds eye what you are producing. I think for me that is the biggest battle and the one I fight everyday, when does what I make move the viewer on an emotional level (for me that is art). I want to know that the piece in the kiln IS going to be as FAB as I imagine it to be even before I open the door. And the only way to get there is produce as much as you can and mean IT .... Trina oh ya and if that fails there IS always glitter ;)

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Guest The Unknown Craftsman

Someone said "the first job of the potter is form" or words to that effect.

So I agree with Mea 100% about the primacy of form.

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In my almost all strictly functional world -I have been heading for years into the brightly snappy glazes on all forms

mainly due to better sales which is what keeps me eating well.

Mark

 

 

I showed my wife the pics you posted of the shelves of work coming out of your fully loaded gas kiln and we both agreed..."Beautiful stuff"

>>Give em what they want while doing what you love<< is a great attitude/approach and is exactly the moniker I plan to operate under as well.

 

many thanks for sharing and for the inspiration. How's the paw, BTW?

 

teardrop

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The difference is in who you are. Are you a Potter Crafts person or an Artist working in clay?

 

Potter Crafts persons work in the three part realm of the functional, technical, utilitarian, and in it make product. It must pour well, must clean well, be food safe, and flatter the décor. It must be comfortable to the touch, pleasing to the eye and lips. It must be durable, useable for the purpose intended and cost effective for the reproduction process.

 

Artists on the other hand, work with clay as a medium they stretch it way beyond its limits, push it out of proportion, and explode it deliberately. They want the pitting, the crazing, the cracking, peeling, jagged edges and the non-useable elements; all of the things that are the antithesis to the Potter Crafts person.

 

So when Potter Crafts people ask what is more important the form or the glaze? They know that the answer is neither they are inseparable. They must work together to form a good product. And it is true that not all of the Potter Crafts person’s work must have glaze but that too is in the realm of a functionally, utilitarian decision.

 

But when an Artist asks what is more important the form or the glaze? The question is turned back to the Artist, what are you trying to express? The artist makes that determination in the execution of the work. There are no rules remember? It is free expression. It is only when the Artist attempts to cross over (whether willingly or not) into the technical realm of the Potter Crafts person do these questions arise. So for the answer, the Artist must decide on a piece by piece basis what is most important.

 

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Artists on the other hand, work with clay as a medium they stretch it way beyond its limits, push it out of proportion, and explode it deliberately. There are no rules remember? It is free expression. So for the answer, the Artist must decide on a piece by piece basis what is most important.

 

 

I had to scratch my head and laugh a bit here when I saw mention of "no rules", "Free expression" and the Artist deciding "what is most important", just after I finished reading about jules' experience (in another thread) of >trying< to stretch the clay beyond it's limits by deliberitely exploding it in the kiln and being told by multiple players claiming to "teach" Art,

"NO jules, you can't do THAT"....rolleyes.gif

 

While I agree with much of what you said above, lucille, I disagree with the statement you made that when a peice meets all of the criteria for "functionality" it automatically loses the tag of being "Art" or the person makin it somehow isn't an "artist" in their own right.

 

be well

 

teardrop

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Teardrop said. "While I agree with much of what you said above, lucille, I disagree with the statement you made that when a peice meets all of the criteria for "functionality" it automatically loses the tag of being "Art" or the person makin it somehow isn't an "artist" in their own right. "

 

 

I didn't say that. The Potter Crafts person has to take it all into consideration in their work. However the Artist, who works with clay as a medium does not take it all into consideration. They usually take just what they need from the Potter Crafts person's realm to convey their 'free, self expression.'

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The difference is in who you are. Are you a Potter Crafts person or an Artist working in clay? /quote]

 

I was going off the distinction you made in the opening statement above. From the way I read it. "Are you a Potter Crafts person or an artist?"...it seemed as if you were insinuating that you are either one or the other and that they are seperate definitions. Sorry for the misunderstanding on my part.

 

teardrop

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I know this is a serious subject, but thanks to Chris and Lucille, I laughed out loud and long. I pictured pigs on the red carpet in glittery gowns and fully painted. The winter doldrums have vanished--even if only briefly. Thanks.

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