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  1. I imagine we've all had that moment. At some point we look at our work and see, sometimes rather suddenly, that we have decided to go in a direction very different from the one we've been pursuing. The moment came for me a few firings back, when I unloaded the kiln and realized I liked a lot of the pots better than I liked the stuff I had been doing before. And then, I had to think about why I liked them better. Those new pots existed, in all honesty, because I had an order for a bunch of bowls and I had to get them out quickly. I decided to use some surface techniques that I had been experimenting with to some extent. These techniques involved the use of sprayed slips and incising through layers, and then using a simple but active glaze that reacted strongly with the slips to create somewhat random surface effects. This was a decidedly unfussy approach, and I have often become mired in fussiness in my work. Except for the first few years of my career, when I was intentionally imitating the great Asian pottery traditions, I have relied heavily upon my ability to draw. I was a painter before I was a potter. I saw that potters who could draw were a minority, so I tried to exploit that skill, in a lot of different ways. If you check my gallery of older work, the emphasis is pretty obvious. But at the same time, my favorite contemporary potters are not people who can draw, or at least that skill is not something that they make heavy use of in their work. These perceptions were strengthened a couple weeks back when I went to a Tom and Elaine Coleman workshop. Tom is not a draftsman. He was also a painter before he was a potter, but it seems obvious to me that he was likely an abstract expressionist, because his wonderful pots are decorated in an abstract and spontaneous manner, with marks made in a very free and unstudied manner. Elaine's work is very different. Not only does she draw extremely well, but she is also a brilliant pattern maker. At any rate, I realized that I was not as interested in the drawing as I was in the pattern making, and this further impelled me along my new path. So, what large changes in direction have you had, and what occasioned them?
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