Tuesday, January 20, 2009

the magical vibration of art

There are some pieces of ceramic work of my own that I keep and don't ever sell. Sometimes, it's the first piece of a series and it contains a seed of an idea that I want to preserve for myself. Occasionally it's the end of a series and I want to add it to my personal archive so I have a physical reminder of the work I've made, and a path to show how far I've come. And every once in a while a piece is just special. It contains a magical vibration that launches it into a different sphere, and I can't quite bring myself to put a price tag on it.

I wish that I could make pieces like that all the time, the pieces that have the spark of magic. Trying to put my finger on exactly what that spark is, how to name it, is like trying to describe a smell. Trying to mindfully re-create it is impossible, because it's a gift. And the gift reinforces the dream of art; my dream is that when I create ceramic pieces I'm participating in a human narrative that hungers for inspiration in beauty and creativity. I struggle with this notion sometimes, because I am personally moved by art that really gets me thinking, that tells a story about the condition of being a person on this planet.

When I was younger than I am now, I really wanted to be a painter and tell these stories. They are all stored up inside me. But when it came to putting the brush to canvas, I usually choked. I painted for years and there are very few paintings I created that I felt any satisfaction with. If I continued to follow the painter path, maybe I would have gotten better, or maybe I would have become really bitter as I continued to struggle with getting what was inside me onto a canvas. Pottery, for me, is the easiest thing in the world. The second I learned how to throw on the wheel, I was done with painting, I never looked back. With pottery, I don't feel the need to tell stories, I just want to blow people's minds with gorgeous pieces. If I'm really good, maybe I can take them out of the moment they are in and put them in another place as they contemplate my work.


  1. Oh wow. These pieces are so so beautiful - I wouldn't want to part with them either.

    Although new to art, I can completely relate to everything you have written in this post.

  2. The great thing about pottery, as opposed to painting is that the audience gets to share the magic with you by actually touching and using the pots/bowls/cakestands/vases in their daily lives. This provides an accessibility to your magic touch too.

  3. I often ponder that 'mechanism' by which we choose our artistic mediums, or, how our mediums 'choose' us?...I find it interesting that when I tell folks i am an artist, they almost always assume that that means I paint...!...yet, I think other forms "tell stories" too..stories that are somehow more abstract, and yet more concrete because folks DO handle and use artisan works in their daily lives...

  4. This is a really lovely entry. Right on.

  5. As your sister, I am lucky enough to have a collection of your stuff that goes back to your Cabrillo days. Some of your oldest pieces are my favorites.

    Some of them hold only a glimmer of your current style, others represent the beginning of designs that have blossomed (literally) into a style that you are now known for.

    I have a few that I think make you cringe when you see them. I'm thinking of one in particular that you've rolled your eyes at (think celtic knots...) But I love it.

    I have others that likely would have ended up in your New Year's pottery smash. Maybe the glaze didn't turn out the way you wanted and I snatched it off the shelf because I loved the shape, or another that has a chip in the body but I don't care because I love the lid.

    Now, you better get famous so I can sell them all on ebay. ;)

    Your Sister

  6. I'm workin' on it, dang it...

  7. I once was a weaver, but the loom in my mind was far better than the one in real life. It wasn't until I started pairing metal with work a day objects that I really felt at home.

    And, I am truly enamoured by the first piece.