Three Dimensional Doodling

At last there has been a bit of time to breathe!  Yesterday I found time to just sit in my studio.  The kiln was on its way down and I was keen to get the next load in but in an uncommon fit of patience I decided to just let the kiln do its thing.  So there I  sat, cup of tea in hand, mind in neutral.  Then I reached for a bag of bits and began to play.  I have so many treasured finds from my mud-larking and I am almost scared to use them in my ceramics in case I don’t make something good with them so I got a large sheet of white paper to cover up the table and tipped a couple of bags of treasures onto it and then I just let myself play.  It is a while since I have done that – so long in fact that I could hardly remember how to.  I have been putting such pressure on myself to get the greatest pieces ever made for the final push of the diploma -well that was bound to fail, DUH!

A wonderful hoard of treasure!
Is it a candle stick?

So here I sat, fiddling with bits of rusty metal and chipped ceramics.  Not everyone’s idea of treasure but then, I am not everyone!  I began sorting them out and then I started to position some of them more thoughtfully, wondering what they might become if I altered my understanding of them.  Was this metal loop for tying a boat up?  Was it an ancient Viking bracelet?  Was it a handle for something?  I reached up for one of my boxes.  The poor old things have been a bit redundant for a while.  I think I felt that they had had their day.  I have been ignoring comments about them being what I do; my signature piece; some of my most successful work because I could not think where to go with them.   In fact there was an element of panic when I though about them – Had I done my best work in the first semester of the course?  Was I never going to achieve anything better?  But here I had given myself permission to mess about and see what happened.

There is a really important message, well several actually, here.  Firstly, Kate Wickam is right, we do have to go through the same old agonies over every new project.  Sorry Kate, but there it is!  Secondly, I should NOT give up on my boxes, they have massive potential so I just need to get on with it and stop fussing.  Thirdly, creative people need TIME!  Bucket loads of the stuff, with nothing to do but play.  No schedule, no deadline, no ‘what are we having for tea’ type TIME.  And finally, perhaps I should spend more sleepless nights browsing through books about people like Gillian Lowndes.  maybe something will stick.  What ever happens next, I feel another box coming!

And suddenly there it was - tea anyone?
And suddenly there it was – tea anyone?

Its Right In Front of You, Stoopid!

Well, if you talk like that, of course you can’t!

Weeks and weeks of apparent brain ache are about to be over.  I have the distinct feeling that part of my problem since the beginning of this final semester has been my attitude to my tutors.  I had practically made up my mind – and so, I think had they – that the road to the decision on what to make for the final work was likely to be fairly tortuous and so, as is the nature of a self fulfilling prophesy, it has proved to be just that!  All the time, the answer has actually been staring me in the face.  I have been gaily making and making but I have made the fundamental error of telling my tutors that I didn’t know what I was doing.  I really should know better!  I know perfectly well from being on the “other side of the desk”, as a teacher for many years, that if a child says they don’t get it or cant do it, they don’t!  They cant!  And the teacher believes them!  But if you say to a child ‘yes, you can, I know you can’, they find that it is suddenly so much easier than they thought.  Its all about attitude.  Because my tutors have been asking me things such as ‘So are we going to have the same tortuous route as usual?’ that is precisely what I have been presenting them with.  Timely reminder to self – never, ever, for any reason, be negative with a child who is vulnerable – it will end in tears!

So, just in case anyone is the least bit interested in the aching of my potty mind,  I am creating an eclectic range of work for the final show.  It is based loosely on my love of Cornwall and my fascination with relationships within and between objects and people.  I have not decided yet how it will be exhibited, that will depend on how it speaks to me as the body of work develops.  I shall use local materials, mud larking finds and natural glaze materials.  I shall make and then abuse moulds and my work will reflect my thoughts.  The way it develops will depend on how I am feeling and the ideas that strike me and, no, I am not the least bit concerned that nothing is finished yet – the best is clearly yet to come.

The best is yet to come . . .
The best is yet to come . . .