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What were you thinking?


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We have discussions scattered all over the forums about aesthetics, philosophy, deliberate and unintentional technical flaws, art vs craft, the role of things like 3D printers, paint vs glaze and so forth. What we think when we are creating our pieces is quite interesting, but not discussed a whole lot, it seems.  I hope this is related to Making Work. If it belongs elsewhere I trust the mods will move it!  

Anyway, I was reading bits of discussions about these aspects of making work and was thinking about my own focal points as related to creativity, self-expression, archetypes, metaphors, serendipity (that's a biggie) and other attributes of how I do my thing.

Today's gleanings from the posts that I read had to do with flaws or failed techniques & what can go to market and what really should not see the light of a retail day or even be given to a friend. I laughed at a comment related to a hairline crack. I had just spent the morning gouging into some cracks in a drying piece,  seeing how hard I could work it before loosing what I was going for.  So-the pics are the beginning of the next piece in my Hidden Mask series, No. 8 Not Broken. I use clay to represent certain things in life--sometime very clear, sometimes very obscure. So, what was I thinking? In this case, I was thinking about a battered woman I once knew, who survived severe physical/emotional abuse & trauma, and how she may be cracked, but she is not broken. 

When you make something---what are you thinking?????

20210519_140950 (2).jpg

No. 8.jpg

Edited by LeeU
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actually, lee, for the past few days i have been thinking of you.

i even put together a small amount of things i could send you.   i realize you are an artist first so i knew it would not be good to just send this stuff to you.    i am a former marketing and sales person who wants to make things that please me but will also sell.    easily.    and make the buyer happy. 

so i did not send you a message asking if you wanted this but now i have the chance.   

you have access to a sales venue and it sounds as though  you could benefit from having a few standard, easy, pleasant items that would sell quickly.   i wonder if you would like to know how to make  a variety of pieces that would sell for around $10?   if so, please contact me.

i admire you for making the mask series, being an artist is a very important person to be.   making us think, understand and empathize with others is needed in this too fast world.   the particular piece above is the opposite of what i would feel.   if someone can rebound from such awful events and thrive, i would concentrate on that portion of the experience that would be joyful to the survivor, not remind someone of the worst of that time.

Edited by oldlady
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Well Lee, it deoends on my mood and what is in my mund.

If the piece ends not fulfilling my brain then ut is diced, plant bound or killed ! at whatever stage the discord occurs. Otherwise it tends to grate on me forecer, or whenever I come across it.

I rmember dining at a friends when one of my flawed pieces was staring atf me across yhe room

I quietly bagged it and made another one. Friend didnt like ut as much but I "owned" it, didn't I

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Posted (edited)
On 5/19/2021 at 4:47 PM, oldlady said:

 if someone can rebound from such awful events and thrive, i would concentrate on that portion of the experience that would be joyful to the survivor, not remind someone of the worst of that time

This is the No. 8 Not Broken piece today-it is indeed already "lighter" in affect, and that is a deliberative part of my process for this mask. When done, it will be more uplifting, bright and pretty rather than sad or gloomy. The edges are no longer so fragile, rough, and craggy, but are smooth and more curved/fluid. The outline reflects the reality that while survivors can emerge from brokenness to thrive, and perhaps attain joy in their lives. The point is to not deny what has occurred and the physical/psychological imprint that may be permanent.  This one will be donated for a silent auction fundraiser for a women's shelter. The other one, on the bottom, is a memorial piece I made in personal response to a friend's suicide. It is HMS No. 3 Secrets. It was part of a community mourning event, in reaction to his passing (he was a widely known artist/photographer).  So---that's some of what I was thinking!

-20210520_130910.jpg

-HMS No. 3 Secrets.jpg

Edited by LeeU
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Great post @LeeU  Your mask really reaches out and speaks.  I don't know if I am as "thoughtful" as you while making.  And perhaps this sounds a bit silly, but I really do go into a zone and "wait for the muse" to send inspiration.  I love the functional aspect of ceramics but acknowledge the design of shape and size and color and and and and something just vibrates inside when I am working on pots.  Like @oldlady said, I do think of things that will sell, since I am wanting to pay for what I do, but with that in mind I am always putting my own spin on things.  Or the "muse" is doing the spinning!  :D    Thanks @LeeU

Roberta

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I moved this from the "Studio" area because I believed the content is more about feelings, and perception than process. Even though @LeeU's work is in evolution in the process and use of surface it is also as she describes it an evolution of the mood or feelings her pieces represent during the process. All of this seems to be more about the aspect of creativity and art as often referred to as aesthetics.

 

best,

Pres

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When working with ideas rather than forms, often it is a matter of what if, and why today, or how do I feel, not just about the work, but about myself. I imagine that we will have many artistic expressions over the next few years concerning lockdowns, viruses, masks, and so many other aspects of the pandemic and the way it brought many to their knees>

 

best,

Pres

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This reminds of a passage in "Ways of Seeing" by Berger. There's a painting at the bottom of a page with birds flying over a cornfield and no description, the author asks you to have a long look then turn the page. At the top of the next page is the same painting with the passage "this is the last painting Van Gogh painted before he killed himself".  He's trying to prove how now the painting serves to illustrate the sentence. When I first saw your mask I noticed the pressed pattern along side the face and tried to create a dialogue between those two things. After reading your description I can't see it the same way. 

"what was I thinking?' - I always find myself trying to find a balance between what I want to express and how it will be read by others. I honestly don't think that's the ideal way to create but I go back to something with fresh eyes another day and realize even I don't see it as I did the day before. 

I agree with Pres in that "how do I feel...what about myself" way art strikes people. Every viewer is going to bring something different, so best we can hope for is to satisfy our own creative expression.

The masks you've made are loaded with content. I think they exemplify some of the best reasons to make art. It's serving a purpose in the community and creating a dialogue. I know so many events have tried to go online with covid but there's no way to replace an "art opening" event and talking to the artist to hear about the process and intention.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/21/2021 at 2:11 PM, awaynestudio said:

the pressed pattern along side the face

I incorporate silence & secrets in my work; sometimes rather than provoking a hint of mystery, it runs the risk of just making no sense to the viewer.  I tend to be more in need of self-gratification than external communication, however, and I need to appreciate that people are not mind readers.  A bit of explanation from the creator can't do any harm!  For the No. 8 Not Broken mask, the print block design is a spin off of "energy" from making a previous mask, No. 7 Primal (pictured below-unfinished, waiting to be refired). Assault survivors are often marked (imprinted: psychologically/physically) by the weapons used on them. Rather than incising the residue of stabbings or burns, I did the edges that way (whacking the clay with an object at hand) to thinly represent one attribute of tribal behavior-domination of one/more over another/others.  

 

--HMS 7.jpg

Edited by LeeU
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The fact they are masks and you used the term "tribal" behavior is a connection I didn't think of before. I imagined the mask motif working as you mentioned before...a mask as a tool to hide the abuse suffered. The use of color in ceramics always throws me off in my work. The changes in color when a glaze is fired to maturity, layered, or mingling with others gives me fits. Your piece here seems to be sticking monochromatic...is that how you usually work?

I think the "self-gratification" route is best and if done with no inhibition really shines through to the viewer. But it's always been hard for me not see art as communication and feel I should try to convey a message of sorts.

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On 5/22/2021 at 6:57 PM, awaynestudio said:

monochromatic

The  Not Broken piece is still greenware,  with no glaze yet.  It will likely be quite colorful.  Primal will not look starkly red and black as it does now-the "reds" are iron rich glazes--could be copper, merlot, rutile??-no idea--I deliberately don't take notes & never can remember what I used after I've made my choices.  I like how the "reds" come across & I was tempted to wash them off and actually use some red/red browns, but I am restraining my self.  Serendipity awaits.

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