At the end of my 2nd year at uni we were given an assignment which we had to present to the combined ceramics classes in an audio/visual presentation. This exercise was in preparation for our final year projects and body of work. We had to collect images of artists work, influences and inspirations from the library and internet that we admired, and WITHIN the powerpoint presentation intersperse slides of our own work made within the last 2 years.
I found this project quite startling and revealing of my own work. I clearly saw how I was influenced by many ceramic artists working in bonechina and/or porcelain paperclay (eg. Angelor Mellor, Sandra Black) but also those working in experimental clay structures and processes (eg. Ewan Henderson, Claudi Cassanovas), I was also influenced by handmade papermaking, mixed media sculpture and the concept of an object's relationship to it's surrounding space...............I could NOT have put my 'style' into any words or have even recognised it if I had not done the assignment and seen my work in relation to others. I used to say 'I just like it' about some of my own pieces but I couldn't have told you why...............
....................it may sound boring, or like some sort of school homework but there really is nothing as revealing as compiling a collection of others work that you really like and having a look at your own in relation to them, once your influences are revealed to you then just keep making and let it go............... my by-line to these posts sums it up for me ................
'Don't worry about your originality. You couldn't get rid of it even if you wanted to.
It will stick with you and show up for better or for worse in spite of all you or anyone else can do.'
- Robert Henri