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Cavy Fire Studios

Potter's Block.

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I am borrrred to death with making mugs and bowls. I have started making medium-sized jars with corks that I call "tea vessels" to break the monotony, but I'm at a loss. I suck at teapots, and my spinal injury prevents me from making big stuff. Any suggestions? Where do you all get your inspiration when you get stuck in a rut?

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Keep making medium sized jars, but rather than corks, make lids. Lids are very challenging but it sounds like you are ready for a challenge. Google up some ideas. This will keep your brain and hands busy for a long while.

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Try something new. Alter the shape, make some paper clay, try hand building, sculpture, embellish you cups with roses, put a face on them, make some lids, make a double wall container, make some press molds, or make a bell that sound pretty. There should be lots of cool new technical challenges to overcome in any one of these.

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As I mentioned in a previous post, I had a hip replacement, and could not throw due to the pain.

1. I built an entire back splash out of slab tiles for my kitchen

2.I built a series of slab trays that are like little paintings as the decoration repeats in three places,

3.I made a plaster press mold and made a series of coil planters.

4. I built a couple of work tables and painted them.

I worked in the garden-the season is now over.

TJR.

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 but I'm at a loss. I suck at teapots, and my spinal injury prevents me from making big stuff. Any suggestions?

 

Make small things and join them together to make bigger things.

 

Throw three/four/five bowls and cut them around and join together  to make one bowl - that sort of thing.

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One of the things I do while trolling the web and looking at blogs and CAD is saving pics of work I like and would like to emulate.  I probably have several hundred. I look at these when I need an idea.  Unlike a book, I have already chosen the pics because they appeal to me. I have had trouble throwing anything over 4 or 5 lbs. due to arthritis.  Some things I look forward to trying to make in the future are butter dishes (multiple pieces), chalices (two pieces), bonsai pots, collandars, multi-piece vases and bottles, boxes, oil/soy pitchers.  Also as already mentioned there a many things you can make by hand.

 

You might also try a new clay and glazes.

 

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Try pinterest. Type in ceramic bowls, pots, boxes, whatever intrigues you. The variety and wealth of creativity out there is amazing. So you make bowls.... Have you ever tried a double walled bowl? Or a pierced bowl? Or a bowl that isn't really a bowl but a little sculpture containing a lake with a little cabin along the side. Try joining two bowls together then cut a hole or carve out areas to make a hanging lantern. You can do a lot with a bowl shape as your start.

 

If you want to try something entirely new build something out of a pinch pot or by using slabs or coils. Heck don't try and make anything just get the clay moving and shaping and see what happens at some point you might go hey that looks like a ...... Or I bet if I add a .... Here I could make a ...

 

Sometimes trying or forcing the issue is the worst thing you can do. Do what everybody already thinks we do... Go PLAY with Clay.

 

Terry

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Hi, fellow Washingtonian! I'm in Olympia, presumably not the crappy part of the state. Although, judging by today's weather, it is hard to tell.

 

I started squaring off my smaller bowls and stamping the thickened rims when I got bored with bowls. People like them a lot. With bigger bowls, the squaring off doesn't work as well for me, although it would be a good challenge to try again. So I still make bigger round bowls. Anyway, I'd suggest any sort of alteration of the round shape, just start somewhere and see where it takes you.

 

I bought a used slab roller from a friend and have had it sitting for a couple of years. But that would be another way to take a break from shapes that bore you.... try some handbuilding.

 

I make spoon rests off the hump and people really buy them. And since you mention corks, I have done well with little "stash jars" with corks. Now that MJ is legal in our state, they are even more of a hot item, although of course they have other uses. I was bored with the incised patterns I've been doing for years and am now doing more of the old 60's- 70's type dipping of overlapping glazes on many of my pieces. People enjoy the variations you can get with this type of glazing, and many of them weren't around in the 60's and 70's and don't even know that it's an old idea.

 

Good luck on perking things up. As for inspiration, I think people's idea of looking at pots on the web is an excellent one. Not to copy, just to get ideas of how you might tweak things to make them more interesting to you and any potential customers.

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Lots of Washingtonians in this thread... I'm in the ridiculously overpriced, snobby part of the state myself. =)

 

I get tons of ideas (way too many of them actually) from Youtube videos. Youdanxx, Hsin-Chuen Lin, John Britt, and plenty of others have Youtube channels with demos of all sorts of interesting stuff to throw. Could be a good source of inspiration for you. Also, a couple ideas other than mugs and bowls: you could throw some closed forms and then alter them (into a lidded jar, a birdhouse, a salt pig, etc). Or there's always plates, saucers, spoon rests, and other flat forms - they don't have to be huge, or you could do slab-built and add some texture as well as size.

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Lucky brat, I live just outside Spokane--so you live in the nice area that actually HAS an art scene. It stinks like head cheese here for artists. The area is so conservative and so possessed of a Walmart cultural ideal that selling art here is very dificult.

I also wanted to say that my primary means of decoration is in illustration using underglaze, so my forms can't be too outlandish, or the illustrations will look weird, and not in a good way! :D I miss working in ^6, but lowfire is soooo much more cost effective than midrange for my broke butt. I am of Mexican heritage, so I looked up some terracotta stuff from my roots to get ideas. Mexican pottery is extremely bright and colorful, but I hate making geometric patterns and flowers. I think what I might do is add a little of the crazy geometrics to my animal illustrations to spice them up a little. My forms are "eh," so I mostly rely on the illustration to make people go "wow," haha!

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I work in ^6 but like the idea of your Mexican flavored colors and patterns at low fire temps; I think that look will always be attractive to people. If only you can get past the boredom (for you) of the flowers and geometric patterns. Tweaking them sounds great.... maybe something with a cartoon-like twist. Maybe add some lettering somewhere, with sayings and such. I know someone who has taken off with that approach, but I wouldn't say it has any Mexican or other specific ethnic flavor, so yours would be different.

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I am also a photographer and the "____'s block" is all too real. I basically went "blind" for about 6 months. It was very disturbing to me and I focused on it daily trying to make it go away. But the approach that worked for me was to shoot anyways, and not to think about it. Take walks, work on other projects, even if mundane and just gety your mind off of it. For my own cure I found it was discouraging to go look at other peoples work for inspiration as it had me focusing again on the negative aspect of this seemingly uncontrollable disfunction. Now that you see that it is a real condition and once you get out of it you can take it as a part of the whole and just let it come and go as it pleases, its not so traumatic once you've experienced it so if it comes around again it will be just one of those things and you'll be out of it soon enough. Hope you're well on your way!

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