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Overcoming Insecurity

surface decoration underglaze terracotta slip

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#1 Cavy Fire Studios

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 05:02 PM

So...

I am a FREAKING AWFUL pariah towards myself. Seriously. I constantly criticize my own work and compare it to the works of others. I'm really insecure.

The wheel and I were NOT FRIENDS in the beginning. If words could kill, the wheels at Spokane Falls Community College would look like they were thrown in a car crusher from the evil that spouted from my dirty rodent mouth. I.e., lots of this: $@#&*^#&#@*)/!!!!!!

After about five years, I can finally pull things off the wheel. They aren't necessarily FABULOUS things, but... they are functional. I was also thankfully blessed with another ability that not a lot of potters have...

I can draw. And, I can draw WELL.

I sadly live in an area where ALL ARTISTS ARE STARVING. I make barely enough money to scrape by, but I just cannot work a traditional job because of my spinal injury. Clay is physically taxing, but... well? So is life.

I deserve to make a living wage, even if my production pottery isn't perfect. My forms are simple, because I want the main focus to be the illustration. For me, clay is just another canvas. I gotta just keep telling myself that my work isn't crap because of whatever reason...

This is a piece of greenware I finished underglazing last night. I have to say that I love it... those grayish muted outlines will be glorious, inky black when fired. It's micaceous redart with white slip I'm gonna fire to ^03. ^_^

I also included one of my graphite drawings, just for fun. :3

So, yeah...

Anyone else have my problem? The self-criticism and insecurity part... >.<'
Attached File  IMG_20141118_141038.jpg   109.36KB   18 downloadsAttached File  IMG_20141118_134345.jpg   156.75KB   14 downloads
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#2 Min

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 05:38 PM

Your work is gorgeous! I think that when we are putting our work "out there" most of the general public don't realize what offside remarks can do to the ego, if you let them. You gotta know your work is good, if your illustrations are your strong ability then play it. Just off the top of my head I'm thinking red clay murals with your illustrations would be amazing! If you live in an area that doesn't have a lot of support / cash for art then get some good images and send them off elsewhere.

 

Remember the old kids storybook, The Little Engine That Could... I think I can, I think I can but change it to I know I can, I know I can.

Keep your chin up  :)



#3 Cavy Fire Studios

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 05:43 PM

Awwww...thanks, Min. ^_^ ♥ I never thought about terracotta murals before, but I can carve in relief and made a really cool box in college with werewolves and evil horses all over it. Maybe I might try something like that.

You really think my stuff looks nice..? Really? :3 That means a lot... like a HUGE lot... ♥
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#4 Stephen

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 06:05 PM

great work, but you already know that :-) U rodents are all the same. Had a hamster like u once, always showing off on the wheel but faked incompetence when trick time came to show my friends.

 

hey grab an 80's vanagon (VW bus of the 80's) with some life left and hit the road. There are scores of arts and crafts shows within a half days drive of Spokane. Your work may also sell well at some of the fantasy shows. No first hand experience but I've heard others talk of really doing well at these events if the work fits. RavenCon is an example of what I'm talking about;

 

http://www.ravencon....events/artshow/

 

not sure which ones are in the northwest but I think you would have a blast and might make some dough.



#5 Benzine

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 08:59 PM

Great drawing, great form, with an awesome decorative illustration on it.  Did you use underglaze?


"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#6 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 09:35 PM

I think your work shows potential but could really pop with stronger contrast like white clay against the color.
As for insecurity, I think many artistic people have to deal with self doubts due to the American attitude towards the arts. At least you are in an artists community even though is it poor.
Socialize and discuss ideas with other artistic people. Great therapy for your insecurity.
Marcia
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#7 Pugaboo

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 11:24 PM

I too have a background as a painter. I like to paint on my pottery as well. We artists tend to be our own worst critics. I'll tell you a short story... Long long ago in a land far far away, just kidding.

When I first started selling my paintings a couple decades back I was terrible at it. If someone showed an interest in a painting I would point out all the flaws in it. Finally one day my husband said you need to stop telling them what's wrong with your painting if they see something in it they like enough to hand over their money for, LET THEM. So I forced myself to stop pointing out what I perceived as being wrong and learned to let people make up their own minds as to its validity to THEM.

Learning to let the art go out into the world and have its own life with the confidence to just let it be was one of the hardest things I learned starting out.

Even now I still struggle as we all do with, is this any good, am I even a moderately competent artist, etc, etc, etc. Just last month I did a show and had a piece I had been hauling around for a year. I liked the piece, had been offered far less than the price I had on it but had held on to it, I wasn't going to take it to this show figuring at worst I could use it around the house since I liked it even if nobody else did. I stuck it in at the last minute and well as it turns out someone did and they paid full price without even blinking. So you never know, and there is almost always someone out there for each piece you make, sometimes it just takes patience to find them.

As for selling venues, have you ever tried etsy, ebay, or your own website? I do all of them as well as festivals, formal galleries, pottery shops, gift shops and even what I think of a pseudo galleries. A pseudo gallery is someplace like the lobby of a hotel that has art for sale in it. Heck I've even sold stuff at tattoo parlors. I have found I do okay at these places so maybe thinking outside the box might be something that would work for you? The thing to keep in mind is to tailor your offerings to the venue. Pet Sitting Service = pet art, Hotel Lobby = easy to pack local themed art, Christmas shop = ornaments, etc.

Good luck and keep up the beautiful work!

Terry
The world is but a canvas to the imagination - Henry David Thoreau

#8 Cavy Fire Studios

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 03:01 AM

@Benzine: Thank you...I paint with underglaze, yes. Straight onto greenware then pop 'er in the kiln. ^_^

@Marcia: ...I'm not sure what you mean...I use white slip over terracotta because the terracotta is too dark to photograph with my camera to see the image. :(
"Shows potential..."
...euphemism for "yeah, you have a lot of work to do before I can call you acceptable."
I'm gonna go sit in a corner now and nurse the sting in my cheek. If I only "show potential" after seven years of work that literally have broken my back...I better find something else.

@Pugaboo: I hate Hobby Lobby... but yes, I have an Etsy store. It's just off at the moment because I am too poor to pay the bill. Had a vet bill come up and my butthole ex ditching me in financial ruin. My clay and my underglaze are all I have. No car. My phone is my internet, which suuuuucks...I just gotta get outta here. There is nothing for me here. I really would like to get a website going, but I'm a bit dumb when it comes to web design. :D Thank you for your kind words to me. I work so hard. My hands ache from decorating for nine hours yesterday, no break. More of the same today. I have tried and tried for years to make my work look even ACCEPTABLE, and it hurts to be told by someone that a piece I feel very proud of only "shows potential." It just kind of makes me feel like I will never, EVER succeed in making beautiful things. I'm actually tearing up... my pottery might be crap, but I'm trying... :'(
"I wheek; therefore, I am."
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#9 Crusty

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 05:38 AM

I think you have a lot of talent and I like what I see In your pictures...

 

Hmmmm.. Ya know, we artists have a battle that most do not deal with in life... Its hard enough to be creative and show the world something new or a new version of something old... we are always in doubt or comparing our work to someone else's instead of taking "what we do and looking back on what we did"  years ago... is my work better now? Am I growing ? Am I on a slow upward grade that is going to get me where I want to be or am I content on what im doing now?

 

Critique Is at every corner of the art world, one has to get used to it and even listen to it in terms of growth... sometimes it hurts like hell because we put our heart and soul into it.. on the other hand I might be able to grow from it...

 

Our brain is our best asset but,at the same time, it can be our worst enemy... we as artist have to get past ourselves in order to create without limits...


I like to throw red clay, it balls nicely and hurts like hell when it hits you...


#10 Benzine

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 08:08 AM

There's nothing wrong with critiquing, whether it be self, or from others, as long as it's constructive. "OK, that doesn't look right or 'work', what can I do to improve it?"

I just had a critique session, with my high school Graphic Design class yesterday. I told them, that none of the comments are personal, they are just opinions. Those different points of view, can help you see, what you might not have seen/ thought of.

Nitpicking, on the other hand, is not productive. EVERY artwork has flaws. Nothing is ever "perfect". But that doesn't mean, they can't be great. Just accept, that there is always room for improvement, and make those changes in the future. That's all we can do as artists. Always trying to learn, always trying to get better.
"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#11 Karen B

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 08:18 AM

Imho, art is at it's best if it reflects the individual's life, experience, physicality, view, etc.. One of the fabulous things about kids art is that it has no self judgement. Do not judge yourself or your work. You have a strong drive and a clear voice in your work. Accept that, be proud of yourself. Each pot created is a success. Give no credence to the negative voice in your head. It is a destructive force. Nourish your soul with the beauty you make. You give generously to your vision. That is something that not all can do.



#12 Arnold Howard

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 09:38 AM

You are an amazing artist. I say that with complete honesty. The detail in your drawing is remarkable.

 

Sincerely,

 

Arnold Howard

Paragon Industries, L.P., Mesquite, Texas USA

ahoward@paragonweb.com / www.paragonweb.com



#13 dhPotter

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 10:18 AM

Your work is beautiful. I envy your ability to draw what you see in your head.

 

Perhaps it is not insecurity you are battling with but rather an over abundance of humility.

 

Artists are extremely humble.  Artists tend to tear apart their own products.

 

Is it because no one else can do what you do so instead of feeling superior you take the low road and down play your talents?

 

Positive thinking, positive approach. Anyone can be a downer. You are special, accept it, be positive about it.



#14 Callie Beller Diesel

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 01:31 PM

Also, it occurs to me that you could do drawings and have them made into decals to apply to your pots, to save your hands. There's a lady I know that will make your PDF file into decals. I can pm you with info, in the name of keeping commerce out of the forum. It's reasonably priced.

#15 Cavy Fire Studios

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 02:50 PM

I wish I had more "likes" to give on here...I ran out.

Thank you all for your kind words. I was very, very upset last night and lost sleep over the thought that all my toil was for nothing. Pottery is my only real means of putting food on my table. My electric/rent is always late, but I do eventually pay it. My art community practically doesn't exist, because I live in an area where art is really not considered a vital part of the community. The only art museum we have, the Museum of Arts and Culture, has almost gone bankrupt several times in the past decade...gives you an idea.

I have toyed with the idea of making decals. I kinda feel like it is "cheating" in a way, haha....but you are right in that it would save my hands a lot of grief, and me a lot of time. Decorating seven mugs in nine hours is pretty snail-paced... >.<'
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#16 Callie Beller Diesel

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 02:53 PM

If you design the decals, how is that cheating? I'll send you the info.

#17 dhPotter

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 03:04 PM

You say you are a bit dumb when it comes to web design. NO you are not. You have and can produce the eye candy.

 

Go to GoDaddy.com. They have a web design program that is WYSIWYG - what you see is what you get. You select a template from the many on hand, plop down your pics and text where you want it and voila' you have a web page. You will need to use GoDaddy as your webpage host - but it is not that expensive per month.

 

Don't freak out at the jargon. Take your time to learn a little about it.

 

Ask the support people questions - Remember a question is never dumb, the lack of questioning is dumb.



#18 Callie Beller Diesel

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 03:12 PM

Wix and weebly are drag and drop as well, they have free hosting available with options to later purchase your domain name, and are pretty easy to poke around with and figure out. This is doable.

#19 Stephen

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 03:55 PM

You might also consider adding a bunch of small stuff to your mix. An hour of work per mug makes them expensive (or should) and in smaller close to home venues that likely means the sales are slow, not because the work is not good but simply because small local venues don't sell like the larger fairs do. The small stuff will help counter that and get some much needed cash into your box while you wait for the more expensive items to sell. If you search here you will see recommendations like spoon rest, soap holders, simple jewelry and the like. Basically anything on a less grand scale that you can make cool and sell for under $20 and you will likely ring up more sales for those pesky things like food clothing and shelter.

 

Maybe you use Diesels decal suggestion to transfer some of your beautiful art to less expensive items and then markup the strictly hand painted ones a lot. Kind of like working the 'original' versus 'print' angle that painters and photographers do. I would think a hand painted mug like you are doing should be pricey, is it?  

 

Good luck and don't let the business side of things deflate you. There is a solution to that, u just have to keep trying different things until you find the right combination and then boom you're on easy street with the rest of us.

 

I hope you didn't take offense at the fantasy recommendation. Your drawing seemed loose and fun and somewhat fantasy inspired, at least to me, and themed events like ravenCon supposedly get huge crowds of folks with money to spend and if you arrive with beautiful pots adorned with drawings that match the events theme I bet you would do really well.

 

Lots of other similar things for your art as well like hand painted beer steins at Oktoberfest events or the Scottish games in western Washington. How about animal events? I know a few avid dog show folks and if they go to a show and see anything painted with their 'breed' it is snatched up. Keep in mind these are people that have the kind of money to blow hundreds of dollars on a weekend of walking their dog in a show for a blue ribbon to add to their collection of blue ribbons.    

 

Anyway just some suggestions, sorry you feel panicked that is an absolutely horrible feeling. Sounds like you need some successes to even things out in your life, good luck working through it! 



#20 Cavy Fire Studios

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 04:16 PM

The decal vs handpainted thing is a. REALLY interesting idea. Hmmm... *gears turning*

Actually, I was a con in September over in Seattle, and I made a LOT of money. The only problem is transportation; I have no car and driving destroys my back (I can't even play the dang Wii). I get all my inspiration from animal, folklore, and fantasy themes. :) I would like a table at World Con next year, but the booth fee is exorbitant... huge earning potential, though. I bet I'd be the only potter there, too.

As for animal shows...eh...I'm heavily invested in the business of animal rescue, so breeders of animals kind of give me hives...I could tell you some horror stories. :(
"I wheek; therefore, I am."
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