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yappystudent

Organizing Ideas And Inspiration From Others

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Definitely a late-night ramble here, in keeping with the subject. I'm curious about other potters here with more experience and perhaps better systems for staying organized in their heads and workshops, and recording your ideas and processes, assuming you do that. You can skip the rest, it's mostly fluff  <_<.

 

Just saying, I have no shortage of ideas and the issue is sorting out which ones are worth anything, but, when I get an idea if I don't write it down it may or may not be lost forever. As a result, a couple cheap paper notebooks are kicking around my digs within easy reach at all times. If the computer is on then I'll usually have the discipline to jot it down on a wordpad document quickly, and transfer it later to a more organized openoffice document.

 

I've got a tv tray next to my computer desk with a 2" high pile of pages torn out of these paper notebooks. Every so often I grab about twenty of these off the bottom of the stack and enter the scribbled ideas into openoffice documents as mentioned, with titles that attempt, with varying success, to tackle the subject of the ideas.

So far I have docs like  "Ceramic Jewelry Ideas 1, 2, and 3, because I collect images off the net which I paste into them (after reducing in pixel and 'physical' size in paint and making them all JPEG files), and regardless the file soon gets so large it takes about 30 seconds to save, whence I start yet another file. There are at least a half-dozen other files of this type with titles like "Sculpture_free standing_wall mounted", "Vessels, 1 and 2" and "Ceramic Utilitarian_Misc"   -etc.

Also I photo my own work of course and upload it into my pc, what there is of it at this point. Bit of a measly file by comparison, as yet. 

 

As far as the images, just so you know, I save them for inspiration, never to steal. Under the photos I type in notes about whatever ideas it spins off for my own stuff. These image/text files have given me a better idea of artistic styles that I really love (Mid-century modernism, Brutalist, Minimalist, "Boho", Post-atomic, among others) and have often helped me get a better idea of what does and doesn't work visually on a ceramic subject as far as form and decoration.

 

Seeing what other artists are up to makes me wonder how they did this or that thing I didn't know was possible and sparks questions in my brain as to how this or that glaze technique was achieved, and the like.

 

Cruising sites like Etsy and Pinterest gives me some general idea of what I could realistically make in my limited home studio and put up for sale with some potential for it selling, for reasonable fees or otherwise. Although this is partly guesswork, and fads in home decor and wearable art come and go, at least I'm not blindly poking around and wasting effort making things that will end up having no audience. I'm not always the best judge of whether my work is appealing to others. If it pays off down the road, only time will tell I suppose.

 

 

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Making an organizational structure that will serve me well over the long term is crucial for my own process and progress. Without that, I will go off willy-nilly on delightful creative ventures that, more likely than not, will run me 'round a rosebush and end up diluting my energy and focus, rather than providing me with enough discipline that I actually accomplish something of substance. 

 

I use doc and pic files, copy and paste snippets of tech & tips from CAD here and other clay resources, bookmark good stuff, and lable everything in my studio. I use Pinterest for general idea triggers (specific to saleable smalls)and I keep a notebook for the studio and a note taker on my cell. Because I am ramping up to do an online store, I am currently immersed in a crash course for small business on the web--marketing and web logistics. I started a recent thread in the Business forum to discuss novice web-building and marketing. 

 

I just finished setting up my product coding on Excel, taping the code on the back of the piece, and coding my storage drawers so I can find it when I need to. Not fancy, but it works and keeps life more managable. I also use a white board to track what's-what. I just put some pics in the biz thread.

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I am a major pen and paper proponent. The act of writing something (or drawing it) is a memory aid, and there's something about putting pen to paper that helps me process ideas. Typing is too fast, and while I do hunt a lot of visual social media to stay informed and gather visual information, brain dumping ideas into a sketchbook is still really important to me. For deadlines and scheduling, I have a really good daytimer that I refer to as my Life. I designed it myself last year, and I have sections for lots of notes, weekly and monthly scheduling, goals and projects so I can break everything down into manageable tasks for my ADD. I even have sections where I can record pertinent information for every show I do, so I'm not having to constantly go to the Internet to look up that detail that I need, because for me that can be a major time suck.

For my production list, I think I'm going to get a whiteboard for my studio. I'm working with a lot of post it notes right now, and it's really not the best system ever.

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I have a journal in which I sketch my ideas and keep notes. Once I've made the piece I go back to the journal and record the clay and the glazes used and any other notes that I think I may need, such as suggested ways that I may do things differently next time. I make a lot of slab sculptures and I nearly always will make a cardboard template to work out the pieces that I'll need to cut to complete the work. I assemble the cardboard sculpture using paper tape, photograph it and then pull it apart to use as my template to cut the clay pieces. If they're still holding together I'll file these in a folder with plastic pocket pages.

 

My iPad is always switched on and I store a lot of info in there, I screen capture images that inspire and save them to a folder called Ceramic Inspirations along with the artist's name and the site that I got the pic from. I use an app called Over to type the info onto the image. I also have a couple of sketching apps that I'll use if my paper journal is not handy. I photograph my own completed pieces with the iPad and save them to their own Photos folder, these are just for my own reference. I take better photos with my DSLR for sharing on social media etc.

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For me, a sketchbook for ideas works very well, but I only use it for more complicated ideas. When throwing most pieces that are not  very complex from jars to vases, and other single piece pots I just go with the flow, until the present form is finished on the wheel . . . this happens after lots of looking, and slow expanding of the form. Other pieces made up of parts,either wheel thrown or handbuilt or both call for sketches upon sketches. Some move on to 3D in Blender for final visualization, then on to the actual creation. Lots of times it is just in the designing that I get a kick, but once started become to absorbed in the throwing and construction and the actual process, that I am swept away-mentally.

 

 

best,

pres

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I have a folder on my computer titled "Inspiration" and I save images that spark ideas for pieces.
I have an ongoing Word Doc where I paste recipes and links. I print especially helpful articles and advice and keep it all in a binder at my studio.

I also several log books for glazing & firing, and a sketchbook for doodling ideas.

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