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ratmfan105

Wondering What The Reality Of Clay To Our Generations?

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If you are alive, you are eligible to answer this question. I would like to hear from as many people that decide to reply to my questions that I would love to hear everyone's personal thoughts of clay and what are the common thoughts and remarks associated with clay. Here is questions we can start a discussion and I will give my opinion on how I am affected by this question.

 

(Q)Was your progression at ceramics difficult, or what was your biggest obstacle in clay to overcome?

 

 

(A)The first thought that comes to mind is that I was always confused why I was the "prodigy" kid in ceramics back in high school, or apparently to many people around me. My struggle was how to he bring my classmates along with me and how to explain to everyone else how their pots could easily be better than mine, but it seemed more of a mindset problem for people.

 

I always, my best to let people know that my pots are based on my knowledge and enjoyment for the dirt, not about how I can boost some ego I have because of some nonexistent so-called talent I was given. It is my approach and thought process that is different from yours which allows me to progress, not some super=human hands that some people off the street seem to think us potter's have. I am sure we have all seen at least one potter that maybe be missing fingers or an entire hand. I have a 2 foot goblet made by a one handed potter, which by the way he made after doing ceramics for only two years, while still a kid in high school.

 

He threw it away and I see it as, to him, that pot wasnt worthy to him. I see it as, it isnt his disability that he focuses on, its the fact that his challenge is in how to make his pots better so he doesnt have to make anymore two foot goblets that he will end up throwing away again and hopefully avoid some weirdo writing a story 5years later about a stupid pot that got thrown away. I hope some people will realize the reality of how objects such as pots can affect so deeply inside.

 

I guess I am rambling here but my point is that, if you are reading this right, I assure you that through a little bit of knowledge and understanding, anyone with the right attitude can take a lump of dirt and make a name for ourselves without hesitation. We can all be Coleman's, Soldner's, Voulkos', Leach's, Hamada's, or Ohr's of our time.

 

Again, I TELL YOU! You can be whoever you want to be in the world of art. No one person is special in any way but where they might differ is their "thoughts on pots". It was not the proportions and materials that Otto found to create his famous yellow glaze recipe that made him a pro potter, but it was his DETERMINATION to revive a glaze buried with history that made him a hot shot of his time period, but that is just what I think if you ask me.

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If you are alive, you are eligible to answer this question. I would like to hear from as many people that decide to reply to my questions that I would love to hear everyone's personal thoughts of clay and what are the common thoughts and remarks associated with clay. Here is questions we can start a discussion and I will give my opinion on how I am affected by this question.

 

(Q)Was your progression at ceramics difficult, or what was your biggest obstacle in clay to overcome?

 

 

(A)The first thought that comes to mind is that I was always confused why I was the "prodigy" kid in ceramics back in high school, or apparently to many people around me. My struggle was how to he bring my classmates along with me and how to explain to everyone else how their pots could easily be better than mine, but it seemed more of a mindset problem for people.

 

I always, my best to let people know that my pots are based on my knowledge and enjoyment for the dirt, not about how I can boost some ego I have because of some nonexistent so-called talent I was given. It is my approach and thought process that is different from yours which allows me to progress, not some super=human hands that some people off the street seem to think us potter's have. I am sure we have all seen at least one potter that maybe be missing fingers or an entire hand. I have a 2 foot goblet made by a one handed potter, which by the way he made after doing ceramics for only two years, while still a kid in high school.

 

He threw it away and I see it as, to him, that pot wasnt worthy to him. I see it as, it isnt his disability that he focuses on, its the fact that his challenge is in how to make his pots better so he doesnt have to make anymore two foot goblets that he will end up throwing away again and hopefully avoid some weirdo writing a story 5years later about a stupid pot that got thrown away. I hope some people will realize the reality of how objects such as pots can affect so deeply inside.

 

I guess I am rambling here but my point is that, if you are reading this right, I assure you that through a little bit of knowledge and understanding, anyone with the right attitude can take a lump of dirt and make a name for ourselves without hesitation. We can all be Coleman's, Soldner's, Voulkos', Leach's, Hamada's, or Ohr's of our time.

 

Again, I TELL YOU! You can be whoever you want to be in the world of art. No one person is special in any way but where they might differ is their "thoughts on pots". It was not the proportions and materials that Otto found to create his famous yellow glaze recipe that made him a pro potter, but it was his DETERMINATION to revive a glaze buried with history that made him a hot shot of his time period, but that is just what I think if you ask me.

 

 

 

I was qualified to answer this quesition based on your definition this morning but as the day progressed I am not so sure anymore. Based on another post in this section I should probably go see if I can find your body of work before I make any comment. But what the heck, I've always like to live diangerously, after all I am a potter! My entry into the world of clay was as easy as falling into a mud puddle: I was born into it. My Mom was a potter, a graduate of the Royal Art Academy in Belgrade and my first teacher although all I did was help around the studio when I felt the urge and played with her stuff. I did n't realize until alot later that I had learned a lot more than I thought I had, I had lerned a lot. I still run across stuff that when I find it difficult I ask what would Mom have done. When I still can't figure it out I come here Of course that was many years ago and technology has changed drastically since that time.

 

Your question did not go in the direction I thought it was going to go so I hope I answered the question you asked in the body of the post. I'd also like to take a shot at your question in the title. I find that the reality of clay is alive and well to ours and to future generations. I was an older parent to my daughter, people used to laugh that I didn't have a daughter I had a granddaughter. So, her friends are all very young and very tech savvy. My daughter's friends also think that making things from clay is "way cool!" I like to take classes and I help out with maintenance of the equipment at the college so I get to spend time with college kids and the kids taking ceramics are very, very much into it. They may have their iPhone connected in their ears but their hands are in the clay on the wheel. I am very heartened by what I see there is a new generation growing up with a liking for clay and other crafts with a good sense of design.

 

BTW in a quid pro quo, please go to the thread on "A Student’S Guide To Building An Esthetic Foundation " just below this one and tell me what you think regarding the proposed guide.

 

Best regards,

Charles

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Clay is not dirt and grammar is important to communicate in writing. Mine is at times also incorrect.

 

First of all, we can not all be Coleman's, Soldner's, Voulkos', Leach's, Hamada's, or Ohr, nor should we want to be. Also, I wonder why there is not one woman mentioned in your list? And a prodigy in HS makes me think of some sort of skill level. Skill does not equate to being in the category of those top people in the field. Skill is solely skill, you can be fantastic at throwing or putting slabs together but your work can still suck in the terms of actually having not much thought or content.

As far as wondering what the reality of clay IS to our generations, as Charles said, it is alive and well. I will say it is not just alive and well, MFA students are far advanced from what my generation was doing with the material. The advancements are due to two major points. One are the advancements that my generation and generations that came before gave and are presently giving to the present generation. These gifts of knowledge are so vast that it is mind boggling compared to the information that was out there when I was a student. Second to top off that direct and vicarious teaching, the spread of visual, conceptual and technical information is at ones finger tips through this new technology. For instance, I wrote my thesis on a typewriter and the only book on the Moche was written in French and don't get me started on wood firing or soda firing! All of what has been given along with this easily accessible new information has been pivotal to the advancement of our discipline. The fact that when a student or professional is doing the research they need to do to build on their conceptual concerns or even technical issues they have instant information, imagery and many times a video to help reiterate what their professor just demonstrated to them. The problem is distinguishing between a reputable source of influence within their research. The web is certainly a place where anything can be posted. As a professor I find it important to be not only a conduit of information for my students but also a director in the terms of letting the student have enough rope to pull themselves out of the muck they are in. I do think that a student being easily impressed by skill is where the danger zone lies and I do not give much rope in terms of telling them they need to turn off their computer and go to the library.

Again I tell you that you do not want to be anyone but you. Can you rise up to the level of quality and make work that is going to make a mark in our field such as, Tip Toland, Richard Notkin, Eva Kwong, Kirk Mangus, Marilyn Levine, Robert Turner, Patti Warashina, Peter Voulkos, Adelaide Alsop Robineau, Robert Arneson, Beatrice Wood, Michael Simon, Julia Galloway, Ken Ferguson, Anne Currier, Chuck Hindes, Ruth Duckworth, Bunny McBride, Lucie Rie, Hans Coper, Linda Arbuckle, Mackenzie Smith, Linda Sikora, John Gill, Clary Illian, Sergei Isupov and..., I doubt it but the odds are that you can. I know I missed out on many many great friends and teachers of mine but they are all themselves and you are you. What are you going to do with this material that we all love? That is the next reality of clay in the future generations. How do we bring it into more homes and get touched by more lips and hands and be focused in major museums and continue the great strides it has made in the past? How is it going to be a material that still is a major player in humanity on every level?

So much for my tangential though process I need to drink some yummy coffee from a Victoria Christen cup. That makes my coffee so much better!

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Well, to your first question, I would say that the reality of clay to our generations is in our hands. (Literally.) hehe.

 

And to your second question, my biggest obstacle to overcome in clay has always been my personal critique. I have this impossible sense of ambition, not to be famous, loved, rich, or to impress, but I'm always searching for something when making that I can't always find. I'm not sure if I'm making any sense. I always love the making process, I love learning, I'm always having a blast, but somewhere along the way I sometimes end up hating what I've made. It's terrible. I feel like one of those awful parents you see on tv who wanted a girl so bad but they had a boy and now they're devastated and can't love their child.

 

Luckily, my self deprecation isn't as strong as my stubborn streak, so even if I get discouraged about how things are going with what I'm making, I get over it after a day or two and get back at it. I know it's silly. But I think a lot of people probably do that, those of us in between the beginner and the master.

 

And I'm working on it: self care, you know, yoga, time spent walking outside, making and eating good food, hanging out with family and friends. I might be making myself sound like a total basket case, but it's kind of like this: you know that saying, 'you only hurt the ones you love'? Well that's because they're the only ones who care. But it goes the other way around too, doesn't it? Only the things you love can hurt you. And it's just 'cause I love clay so much.

 

Communication is not my strong suit, so I'm not sure if this makes sense to brains other than my own, but oh well. smile.gif

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I love playing in the mud, but have a decided lack of formal education in ceramics--no degrees. According to family lore, I used to make mud pies and then eat them--maybe that's why it's in my blood. Most of what I've learned over the early years required the use of a hammer in equal measure with the wheel. Too thick, too wonky, ugly glaze--name it, and it happened. Gradually, perseverance, a lot of reading and practice got me to a point where--for the most part--the hammer is hanging on the wall.

 

The past 12 years or so I've been fortunate to mentor to an amazing group of youngsters who's love of working in clay matches or exceeds mine. In some small measure I've been able to help them move ahead in their endeavors. I've watched their efforts move from a 3" cylinder to 10" vases. From wobbly saucer shapes to dinnerware. I know that most of these kids will ultimately be far better potters than I, but like to think that they will remember their summer spent in my studio.

 

Pottery is as close to earthiness as we can get while living. All of us who might have clay up to the elbows and smudges on our glasses, wouldn't trade one bucket of our sludge (smelly as it can be) for a pristine existance. Most of the new generations will feel the same. Why else would engineers, bookkeepers, printers, scientists, or teachers come home tired from work and yet spend hours playing in the mud several times a week? Because it refreshes our souls and minds and keeps us happy.

 

As I get older, the pots will become a little smaller, the time spent at the wheel a little shorter, but I wouldn't trade it for anything, and I won't quit.

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I am enjoying the responses to the question though I must confess I did not really understand the original answer.

 

Are you really saying that no one has a special talent ... that they just think about it more? Everybody could be a great potter, painter, doctor, lawyer or designer if they just worked at it?

They could become competent perhaps, but without a talent for the job they would not become great.

 

Talent isn't just having other people say you are wonderful ... it's often going ahead when people say your work is awful. All the people we now call famous probably never even considered fame as a goal. They were doing the only thing in life they wanted to do. So yes, I guess they thought about it more ... but I think they also had talent.

 

My answer is that sometimes it's easy, sometimes it's hard, sometimes it's crazy ... but it's still the only thing I want to do every day.

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