Thanks John, That means allot coming from you. One thing Clary Illian
said that sticks in my mind and may be relevant is that "Once the commitment is made and the hard work embraced, the life of a potter is entirely sustaining" The age of the artist is not as important as it is in other cultures and the time involved in the media is not a given that one will gain the level they want to achieve but the fact that it is in the journey that we hopefully grow. I love the quote, "Clay is Long and Life is Short". It is in the journey that we hopefully grow, of course that is not always true and a period of stasis is reached several times along that journey, some never get out of that period. Knowing when we are at a certain plateau, and needing to jump off and try and fly higher is sometimes hard to discern. Also sometimes when we see where we are, we are just scared of the jump. The fact is there is possibility you will fall flat and have to climb back up. But isn't that where the challenges become a part of the child like or virginal excitement that get our juices flowing or our visions revitalized. There of course is also growth in our work that is not made by leaps, bounds or large growth gaps and there are those times of small forward movements that fine tune our work. For me these nuanced growth rings in my tree come when i am exposed to more work from history and contemporary practitioners who are my peers and whom I am lucky enough to drink out of, eat from and or live with and reflect upon. Living a little with our own work, (not in a narcissistic way), also helps us to evaluate it and see its small or large negatives that we can hopefully change slightly, and we can if we can see them. I think of Yanagi Sōetsu and his writings on seeing and knowing.
A handle that is off a little or a physical or visual balance point that needs tweaking can be examined with scrutiny.
Again the fact that "Clay is Long" and has been here a long time, sometimes the reinvention of the wheel is not needed. Many often neglect the work that stood the test of time and was vetted through that process of use and domestic needs. Many have embraced our beautiful and long history of making objects of use and objects of representation and expression, and those people in our filed are the people I owe so much to. Has our field added quite a bit to those traditions, certainly we have and we will continue to add to this rich and diverse history. We also have an obligation to educate the public on why we are important and how clay has been and will be used to express everything from our deep concerns about how we eat and drink, to our views of the social issues of the day and of the future. It seems grandiose to some that art in general has a place in the world outside of decoration, but that is a short sided attitude. Keep up the good fight!
That is an absolutely (if I might say it ;)src="http://ceramicartsda...ault/wink.gif"> ) "masterful" posting on the subject above. Articulate and clear.
I deliberately waited until I was 60 years old before scheduling a solo exhibition in Japan. That age is basically the point in Japan when a craftsperson is felt to possibly have acquired enough skills and experience to "know what he/she is doing". It is the beginning of your second time around the Zodiac cycle also...so is a "big deal"; you are conceptually re-born. I was very glad that I did so.
It is only in the past few years that I feel that I am finally getting a grip on this crazy craft...... and I have been working basically full time with clay since the mid-60's. And I too would not call myself a "Master" yet. The more I work and explore in this field...... the more I realize that there is to "master", and know, and to try. Sometimes it seems that the "goal posts" keep moving further and further away. But that is what keeps us involved, creative, and alive, isn't it?
The infinte truth of that old saying becomes clearer and clearer: "Clay is long. Life is short."