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Mudslinger Ceramics

Natural Talent....

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This liitle person is Anna, she is 4yo....and just look at that incredible bowl!

 

This weekend in Australia we are having our first nation-wide open ceramic studios event organised by our national potters organisation The Australian Ceramics Association...... Anna and her family were some of our visitors at our ceramics studios at Sydney Olympic Park today.

 

Watching this pretty little cherub....her concentration, determination and patience to make the clay form a bowl.... made me think of how how many of us are a 'natural' with clay and how many us must learn and develop in practice.   

 

I had to learn and practice a fair bit with throwing but I have a friend who made it all look so effortless from the start, which were you?

 

Irene

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post-1718-0-06350800-1376743998_thumb.jpg

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My very first wheel thrown item, was just for practice, and wasn't kept.  It had to be a ten inch cylinder.  The thickness was probably all over the place, and my instructor was nice enough, to take an average height, as some spots were above ten, but some were below. 

 

I still have the first couple bowls I made, and am still quite proud of them......Now my first couple mugs on the other hand....

 

With that said, I was a Senior in college, when I started working on the wheel, not a child.  For reference, I was teaching my nine year old niece how to work on the wheel.  She struggled to understand how much pressure was needed to pull and form the clay.

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I found my nitch on the wheel. Loved the process, the feel of the clay moving through my fingers, loved getting dirty, making pots was secondary. So I found that after the first class Ihad to have more.

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When I was a kid I liked to throw clay balls at other kids--we didn't get much snow. Other than that, I've never really cared that much for clay.

 

Jim

I would imagine that a one pound clay ball, would drop a kid pretty easily.

 

I imagine you, sitting on your porch in a rocking chair, with a tub of clay to hurl at unwanted guests.....And yes, I am assuming you have a porch, with a rocking chair, because you live in Georgia.

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You labour on a piece of work, you strain yourself and spend hours,

then when you think you have really done well ...

... you see someone else who made a similar thing, only vastly better, with no effort and in no time ...

:(

Juli Long likes this

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You labour on a piece of work, you strain yourself and spend hours,

then when you think you have really done well ...

... you see someone else who made a similar thing, only vastly better, with no effort and in no time ...

:(

I actually find this encouraging. It gives me something to strive towards.

 

In my profession, you can't let the abilities of others, get you down. I have high school students, who have skills far beyond what mine own abilities were at the same age. But that doesn't mean I don't have anything to offer them.

The same is true for the art world in general. Just because someone's skills are "better" than yours, doesn't mean that you don't have anything to offer in a discussion with them.

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You labour on a piece of work, you strain yourself and spend hours,

then when you think you have really done well ...

... you see someone else who made a similar thing, only vastly better, with no effort and in no time ...

:(

My quibble would be with the "no effort" part of the statement. Perhaps the effort has been ongoing for thirty years in order to make it look easy. Beginners don't make anything look easy.

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You labour on a piece of work, you strain yourself and spend hours,

then when you think you have really done well ...

... you see someone else who made a similar thing, only vastly better, with no effort and in no time ...

:(

I have only two rules for my pottery classes, and one of them is "never compare yourself to another potter."

Juli Long and ~janie like this

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You labour on a piece of work, you strain yourself and spend hours,then when you think you have really done well ...... you see someone else who made a similar thing, only vastly better, with no effort and in no time ...

:(

I have only two rules for my pottery classes, and one of them is "never compare yourself to another potter."

Agreed! That's the same rule I have in all my classes. I only compare the student, to themselves. It's not fair for the "worst" student, to be compared to the "best", as they might never be able to create such work. And it isn't fair to compare the best to the worst, as it gives them no reason to try and improve.

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You labour on a piece of work, you strain yourself and spend hours,

then when you think you have really done well ...

... you see someone else who made a similar thing, only vastly better, with no effort and in no time ...

:(

 

 

 

 

Frederik,  you make me smile.....I have felt that many times........and yes, especially with the release of each new edition of the pottery magazines!

 

Yet......in moments of self doubt I remember a moment 8 years ago when I stood in a ceramics gallery, my then 12 yo son next to me, looking at someones work and lamenting that mine was never going to be 'good enough'.

 

My son turned to me and in complete exaperation said   'Ohhh, Muuum!!! There's 4 million people in Sydney and 23 million people in Australia!......SOMEONE'S going to like it!!!   

 

There is that saying about 'out of the mouths of babes' - it was a humbling and startlingly defining moment to say the least, one that puts things very much into perspective....the outcome of that ego slap was my commitment to my ceramics work where I have now enjoyed many compliments and this year I was invited to join that very same gallery I 'knew' I would never be good enough for.

 

My goodness, don't we LOVE our kids??....when homework, staying out late or putrid laundry is not involved of course...

 

Irene

~janie and Karen B like this

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I was watching a movie (Along Came a Spider) and the following conversation took place.

 

A Secret Service agent said to a detective,  "Maybe I need to change my job.  Get a new career."

 

Detective replied,  "You do what you are".

 

Agent said, "You mean you are what you do."

 

Dectective shook his head and replied, "You're born with a gift, or if not that, then you get good at something along the way.  And what you're good at, you don't take for granted, you don't betray it.  If you betray your gift, you betray yourself and that's a sad thing."

 

Having been flatlined creatively for several months, this really caught my attention.  Thank God for DVR, I backed the recording up and wrote it down.  I think it will end up as a poster reminder in my studio.

 

Shirley

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I guess I'm not a "natural" because for me, throwing has been an ongoing struggle, which has made my successes all the sweeter.  Some years back, I urged a friend to try his hand on the wheel. He agreed and I did some demonstrating, provided some basic instruction and turned him loose.  He worked at it all afternoon and ended up with a pretty good vessel which he used as a water bowl for his dog.  I was very impressed, having taken many practice sessions to produce anything even close to that in quality.  I felt sure he would want to continue throwing.  I asked him how he liked it and he said, "I just don't have the patience for it."  He never threw again.  Go figure.

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I know that no matter how good I get on the wheel; it will be like the old gunfighters; there is always someone better. At least with gaining a throwing skill you don' risk your life. Now if I could just find my way with glazes. . . .

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Oh how I empathise with you Pres. I KNOW you are an experienced potter, but even at my 'improving' stage, I would say the same. I've taken pretty well to throwing and just need to put in plenty of practice to refine my skills, but glazing.....well that's another story. I have to go over and over all the same information and the whole business sinks in to my (ageing) brain a micro-particle at a time. Really slow progress!

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One of my former professors talked about natural talent. He said you can have natural talent but it's what you do with it. He said a person who likes what they do and works hard will go further than someone with "natural talent". He said in his 35 yrs of teaching, he had seen two students who could throw better than him when they started but 10yrs later they were working at other jobs which they loved none which involved clay or art.

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