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AndyL

I Have My Garden Of Shame

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I have what I call THE Garden of Shame. :) It's where all the pieces I put that I won't take a hammer to but are not good enough to keep in the house or give away. The reason I keep them is they promise good ideas to use in the future or problems I want to fix but haven't figured out yet. They're references mainly for future use, evaluation and technque. What do you do with similar pieces?

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I also keep mine around for awhile, it's usually the glaze I am unhappy with and I may try reglazing it.  I don't usually hammer them, they tend to find homes.  Often I will have visitors tour my studio, during the tour they notice my rejected pot and tell me how much they like it.  I usually ask them why, because I can't understand the attraction and then I give it to them.  I'm afraid this says more about me than them, I guess I'm not in touch with what the non-artist consumer tastes.  I attended a huge international sculpture show and sale most of the sculptures were larger than life.  I approached one artist and told her how much I liked her work, she immediately ask me if I was a sculptor.  I said yes to a degree but not like her, she said the reason she asked is that sculptors love her work but she can't seem to sell it to non-artist customers.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.      Denice

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I have never put my trash in the Garden-I do have a few rejects on top a kiln as they give me ideas on new work. I never let vistors have them.

I have a cement recycling yard less than a mile away that takes any ceramics/china and grinds it up. So that where hammer pots go.

I made a decision about 42 years ago not to have a on site/property shard pile.

I have a few sculptures in the yard but they are not seconds.

 

I sold my seconds when I 1st started out and as my mentor said it got me later. A good friend married a woman who bought one of my warty/cracked huge stoneware bowls back in the 70's from a studio sale. They served me salad in it a few years ago. I said I'd would make them a new nicer bowl whatever color they wanted and trade for the junker-they would not have it as they liked this piece of trash bowl.Its still a sore point with me.

Smash the trash and move forward.

Mark

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I always feel sorry for the little pieces that aren't deeemed "good enough". They remind of the unwanted animals you find in a shelter, they still have a lot to love about them. (I guess that's why we have 5 pets at my house...). I am not a professional potter, so I don't think any of my work will ever bother me to see it again. Mark, it's good to know that your uneanted work is being used somewhere. One thing that bothers me about making pottery is the amount of waste when things go wrong.

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Mark, I can't even think of my reject, unwanted pieces as "trash".  That's one of the perks of non-production work...not so much stuff to get rid of.  Yes, I have pots in the garden.  Half buried and tilted equals a toad home.   Surrounding tender newly planted stuff as protection against doggie paw squash.  Holding starter plants.  Have used the trash can, but not very much.

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I should qualify something. If it's flawed, it gets broken. I actually find it quite satisfying, and am not bothered by breaking things. If it's an idea that isn't fully realized, I keep it until the more refined piece shows up, sort of like a sketch. I find if the half finished ideas are hovering in the periphery, it allows my unconscious mind to keep working in the problem. Once the fully realized piece shows up, the sketch gets discarded.

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I too used to have a garden of shame, but I decided it was time to cut it down, in order for new things to grow - or in other words, I needed the space for other stuff. Certain family members tried to steal the lumber, but I managed to steal it back.

 

The thought of my trees of shame taking root in other people's gardens is too much to bear. I would rather they took some of the prime trees instead.

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I don't keep anything anymore that isn't worthy of my house. Everything goes in the trash can. Sometimes I will keep a few pieces and put them on my desk for a while, but eventually I get tired of looking at them and BOOM into the trash they go. For someone who has potted for about a year. I only have like 4 pots in my house that are mine(but i will throw them away soon enough), and there is only 4 out in the real world(these I don't like, but they were a requested item and they loved them.)

 

I think its important to be super hard on yourself, its the only way to keep improving. Eventually I assume I will make a piece I will fall in love with and it will have a permanent place in my home. Until then. TRASH!

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There's a tree near the end of my garden which has a whole pile of rejects underneath it, I can't see them, the undergrowth is too dense, I toss them in the general direction from three or four yards away, I'm sure there is a whole new habitat developing under there for little critters.

 

I also distribute some pieces around the ponds of the New Forest, in a similar vein to above I hope they may help to create a new habitat for something slimy/spiky/slithery.

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For those throwing out unwanted clay pieces: Fast forward a thousand years……….

Rejects discarded that eventually are buried will intrigue future archeologist. Imagine the diligent archeologist trying to reassemble broken pieces in an effort to understand the culture importance of your discarded work.

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I repurpose mine.. Or at least I plan to. I have a box of discards accruing until I have enough to make some mosaic type walking stones for my garden. When I have enough pieces to pour several I will set up and do so that way the unwanted get a new lease on life and I get something to step on during rainy days. Any pieces that will hold brushes or tools get stuck in the studio and made useful. I haven't sold any seconds, I see no reason to as there are always better pieces to sell with no regrets.

 

The only piece I am hanging onto is a large pyramid shaped hand painted box I made. It left the studio, had a short life, then someone in the gallery where it was displayed dropped it or something and there are now cracks along two of the legs. You can't see them unless you flip it over and look but I won't sell something for $300 if it's got an issue. Instead it's on my mantle looking pretty and you can't see the cracks... But I know they are there.

 

T

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I just want to comment on the word "shame". Nothing we do that doesn't meet the MOMA standard is shame. It isn't quite what it should be?... we can call it second or third. But personally I feel that when you put all your might and will into doing something, and it just wasn't your day, that's no shame! All your pieces are precious. One maybe a bit more than the other.

 

And what karenk said, of course :)

 

Evelyne

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I was surprised to learn that one of my favorite clay people makes free-form sculpture work (that I deemed to be awesome) and that she never sells ANY of it.  All of those pieces end up in her own little sculpture garden.  I asked why she never sold any and she told me, "It is not what people expect me to produce...I'm not known for non-functional work".  I  am still chewing on that thought a bit, but realize that there are probably 20+ flower pots in my back yard that will not likely see a sale display...I guess I just make those for myself.

 

I am good with a hammer and subscribe to @Mark C.'s philosophy.  It did take me a while to realize that seconds are not my children.

 

-Paul

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If it just didn't come out the way I wanted it, but it looks nice and is usable, I find someone who genuinely likes it and they get a handmade gift. 

If there's something seriously wrong with it, a huge crack or it is actually unusable, I don't even feel bad throwing it away. Same goes if it's ugly. Though I have found that something I find unbearably ugly can be wonderful in someone else's eyes so I sometimes give these a chance to find a home before I toss them. 

 

If it's a little something like a bubble or crackled glaze, why, that is a succulent pot! I had a beautiful porcelain teacup and saucer that I slip cast. They looked 100% fine until glazed, when several sinkholes opened up and sucked glaze into them, leaving a marred surface. Well, my sister absolutely loves it as an elegant little flower pot.

 

I don't bother trying to sell slightly flawed things online because of course you have to mention the flaw and even at a hefty discount nobody wants it. I think online they're not sure if it's worse than you're making it out to be. 

 

Denice: I think that as a person with a small house and yard, what would deter me about larger-than-life sculptures is where on earth to put it?! Maybe it would fit in the bathtub. ;) 

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I should qualify something. If it's flawed, it gets broken. I actually find it quite satisfying, and am not bothered by breaking things. If it's an idea that isn't fully realized, I keep it until the more refined piece shows up, sort of like a sketch. I find if the half finished ideas are hovering in the periphery, it allows my unconscious mind to keep working in the problem. Once the fully realized piece shows up, the sketch gets discarded.

 

I have a little funky piece that was an almost collapsed bowl. At first I didn't like the shape but then I carved big pieces out of the sides to make an orchid pot and suddenly it became one of my favorite things yet. I'm not going to fire it because I chipped a chunk out of it on its' way into the kiln (shortest kiln stay ever, 5 seconds) but I haven't recycled it because I want to make another one, on purpose this time, with the same carving. It's there as a reminder to make that again. 

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Busted up a BUNCH of pottery today that ran or had cracks in the bottom. Felt great. All went into a cardboard box, then to the landfill.

TJR.

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Don't fill the landfill? A local maosaic artist would love your shards.

 

Why the garden of shame? Its the Garden of Learning Opportunities...the Garden of Lessons Learned...the Garden of Clay Adventures that Ended Unexpectantly.

 

I got cracked pots out in the garden...the plants love them. If they are flawed in some other way i drill them out and the plants love those too. I don't sell them but they make good planters for myself. If they are flawed too badly to make a nice looking planter they meet mr. Hammer and become mosaic fodder.

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I had a load of ^6 one year, overfired probably to ^8. They were bloated some, and a little slumped. My Dad, took a bunch of the casseroles for bonsai planter. Tried to drill them with what he had in the way of drills-carbide, diamond, masonry etc. Could not drill a one. Ended up on the bank by the creek at the side of the house.

 

I have a load right now in a cardboard box, that will be going out in the trash. Seconds, I don't. They either are, or they aren't. There are a few in the house that are large bowls with small cracks in base that do not go through, but my wife loves them for mixing cookie dough and other baking so they stay. This when I was getting used to throwing large mixing bowls for shows.

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In keeping with the spirit, tone and details of all of our conversations regarding types of clay, brands of wheels and kilns, firing temperatures and schedules, glaze recipes and more, I would like to ask this question... What kind of hammer do you use? We all seem to own at least one hammer that is designated for disposing of unwanted ceramics. I'll start and say I have an Ace hardware Steel Grip rubber mallet that has a nice heft to it. Anyone else?

 

Paul

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believe it or not, concrete doesn't always break my pots.  had a bisque piece bounce off the floor the other day from about 30 inches and it did not break.  deliberately dropped 4 pieces into the trash can and none broke.  picked them out and slammed them into the trash.  first one did not break.  second one broke without damaging the first under it, third broke, fourth broke.  dropped a rock onto the first one and FINALLY broke it.   very satisfying.  

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believe it or not, concrete doesn't always break my pots.  had a bisque piece bounce off the floor the other day from about 30 inches and it did not break.  deliberately dropped 4 pieces into the trash can and none broke.  picked them out and slammed them into the trash.  first one did not break.  second one broke without damaging the first under it, third broke, fourth broke.  dropped a rock onto the first one and FINALLY broke it.   very satisfying.  

A little more work on your slam dunk technique into the trash container and you're good-to-go. That works for me...true catharsis!  :rolleyes:

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