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Steven hill “journey”

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I am lucky that I am able to participate in his “journey” workshop this year. It’s all about developing your voice as a potter. Has anyone here taken it? 
I took a class with him last year. His critiques work for any aesthetic and the perspectives I got about my own work has helped me “see” things that I didn’t notice before… things like lines, and flow. 
I am huge admirer of mike Strumbras’ work and didn’t realize Steven worked with him.  

The workshop requires 2 books to be read before it starts. “Big magic” and “steal like an artist”. 
After reading steal like an artist, it says to write down all the artists that you admire (and research them), things you prefer, things you have always loved etc. So far, writing these things down has given me more clarity than I expected. I feel like a world has opened up to me and I want to explore so many more things in my work (fresco style architecture, Heironomous Bosch inspired everything, and dark /misunderstood topics) 

Long story short, I would love you to ask, who is your favorite artist/maker/writer etc… and what would they make if they were working in clay today?  Have you taken his workshop? I would also love to hear what happened for you during: thanks! 

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I'd like to hear (read) about your experience; please do post back.

I don't have a single favourite. Earlier on (am just starting year five now) I did look at (and touch) a lot of local work, also books, magazines, and online, however, the looking has tailed off to almost none over the last year or so. For now I'm good with working on technique/skill - four basic forms with a few variations.

Since the last day of Wheel II class at the local JC, I've been very much missing being in a communal studio, surrounded by work in progress and other students.
I don't miss the dust, commute and carrying, and fragrances.

Hope you have a great workshop!
Thank you for your post, gets me thinking.

Gilbert and Kleon's books are linked on Hill's website.

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  • 3 months later...

Thank you for the book recommendations, I’ll get them from the library immediately.  In terms of non-ceramic art, I’m pretty boring favoring Van Gogh (enough to spend over $100 on a mug where the artist impressively copies his and others paintings. And it wasn’t even Starry Night, so when she eventually has that for sale again I’ll fork over another $100, for mugs that are too much works of art for me to use because I know I’ll break them. It’s displayed along with another mug and a teapot I’m all afraid to use) and Monet of course, as a sculptor I was incredibly obsessed with Rodin, despite not being a figurative sculptor like him, but his ability to convey emotion in his pieces is unparalleled. Of course he was rather an ass it turns out, actually forcing his assistant, sculptor in her own right, and long time mistress into an insane asylum for a few years, I think because she was getting so good and getting recognition he was threatened. I actually consider her, Camille Claudel, to be my favorite sculptor outside of ceramics or my other medium glass. I find that I am developing a huge huge range of influences in ceramics and glass with current artists, top for ceramics for me are Beth Cavener (again another figurative sculptor!) and Rosette Gault, who invented paperclay which is what really got me from just using clay as an intermedium model to be casted into metal or glass, and obsessed with ceramics. I love her work. I’m using the save feature on Instagram a lot, and go back through the different categories I have set up when I need inspiration (what I come up with rarely has much obviously in common with the work that inspired me, but I guess if I would go back to it I would find some details) or just to enjoy the vast amount of makers that I adore their work. I’m not sure how much I steal really, not much of my work even references historical ceramics, although I am going to be attempting a body of work of cone 6 majolica on black stoneware once I find the right white glaze…there are some great glazes but black stoneware is finicky especially about Superpax for some reason. I just hadn’t seen that done, and I plan on leaving part of each piece unglazed so that it is obvious it is black stoneware and not terra cotta, including some carving and Sgraffito, with more modern abstract majolica paintings. Obviously leaving parts of the piece unglazed or carved is not traditional majolica, but it looks gorgeous with the contrast between the majolica and the black clay and if I don’t do that I won’t be showing that I’m spreading majolica from its roots. My other work is 100% different, lots of large scale sculptures that have to be put together after firing them in sections, doing medium and even some small paperclay handbuilding that explores the limits of paperclay’s fantastic abilities, including a lot of building with slip or with textiles that will burn out. I also have a series I’m making dipping ripped pieces of paper from my days as a biology professor, using up the huge pile of corrected tests and labs I have. I name them after biology tests and labs, but the writing burns out in the kiln and it leaves incredibly thin vessels mostly so far that are translucent. I have a whole deep meaning behind it but it is stuff about academia that no one is going to guess, sadly.

I love a huge variety so I use colored clay with my paperclay, have a very small selection of molds that I throw away after so many uses, for strata casting different layers of colored slip and then carving into them. Everyone is different then and I polish them usually instead of glazing. I used colored clays in a huge variety of ways, including just inlaying it in various random shapes onto other colored pieces, I like making Nerikomi but when I make loafs I quickly get bored of using the same slices so have to mix it up, and feel stifled by kind of the rules of colored clay so I’ve been doing some stuff I haven’t really seen anyone else do but that’s always a lie, someone else has always done it. I have some artists who I am obsessed with their work, but other than some people particularly in raku, pit, and saggar firing most are emerging artists not that much ahead of me, so I don’t want to name names. I’m starting to think maybe I need to steal more! While some of the work I am doing has some roots or precedent, it is mostly in the construction method, and not what I actually do with it. I’ll be very interested to read those books! Especially as I am arranging for several residencies this year with a few really rather high reaching goals for the spring and summer, that if I don’t get this year I’ll be really really busting my ass to get the following year. Really interesting points you’ve brought up. I’ll have to start looking at my work and trying to see if I find a little Monet in it etc!

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