Thursday, March 07, 2019

not so sweet perfection

I have been working on a lot of new things in the studio. Probably too many new things, I have some serious backup in the brain and now it's all gushing out. I feel like after being in my new studio for a year -- A YEAR PEOPLE-- I'm finally getting into a groove.

 I'm missing the days when I used to have assistants to do all the little things that take so much time, like prepping items for shipment, mopping floors, or wedging clay. But, I also like the freedom and lack of obligation that comes with just working on my own. My only obligation is to the work, not to keeping someone employed. It's a huge responsibility to be a boss and I do not miss it. I just miss the bossing around part.

I have been working in a new clay body, a red clay called Navajo Wheel. Yes, it is insane to try and maintain a white porcelain studio while playing around with red clay, which stains everything it comes into contact with.  It's like making chocolate sauce in a marshmallow factory. But there is something delicious about this clay, its rustic feel.



I've been considering the meaning of "rustic" in my work. One of my challenges as an artist-maker person is I love to perfect an idea or concept. I will work that shit until it glows. And shines. And sparkles. And is perfect. So, so... so perfect. I can get carried away and not know that the horse I am relentlessly riding has lost its legs and doesn't want to go anymore.

What do I mean by that? I'm thinking of some ceramic artists, including myself, who have so perfected their processes, their style, and overall approach to making that the work has actually lost its energy, the static that makes it interesting. I will not name names because this is my own subjective opinion that has nothing to do with how other people feel about the work, it's something that I have noticed and have started considering as part of my own journey.

As a recovering perfectionist-- you are never fully recovered but always recovering-- it's important for me to always reckon with the costs of perfection and my internal desire for ultimate mastery over whatever I am doing. I have to consciously make the effort to kick a bucket of slop on my work in order to disrupt my drive for  sweet sweet  P E R F E C T I O N. It's a drug, straight to my brain. Kicking a bucket of sloppy red clay on my work forces me to try to tunnel my way out with a different approach. I creates energy in my work-- I think, I hope-- and keeps things always subtly changing.





3 comments:

  1. Oh, I'm glad you have found your groove! That gives me hope! I'm still searching for mine in my studio... I feel like it's close though, just gotta catch it! I've thought about having an assistant, but you make a good point about the additional pressures to be someone's boss and to keep them employed.

    I find the red clay you described interesting! I cut off pottery from my studio long ago, to keep it as something "fun" for myself, that's art without the pressure of sales and shows. Unfortunately, it's been a long time since I've gotten to go "play". Your work is beautiful, and I love that you're fighting the "perfection" bug to find a new creative mode!

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    1. (and I'm going to add that none of my "play" would ever look anything like your work. There's a big difference between an amazing, professional piece, and me slapping around some clay like a toddler! Just wanted to make that clear, just in case it came off wrong!)

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