I spent a very happy day at Klaylondon this week enjoying the space and chatting to the lovely people who dropped in to admire the work in the gallery. I think the gallery is looking amazing and it seems as if people are now beginning to talk about it and seek it out. I have it on good authority that we sold a remarkable amount yesterday, but I digress.
The point of this blog is to dwell for a moment on where one thinks one is going as an artist and whether you ever actually get there.
Whilst I was enjoying the gallery a number of people came in specifically because they had spotted one of my pieces in the window and wanted a closer look. In conversation with one of my fellow artists she told me that she thought it was clear that I had arrived; I knew what I was making; I had a great USP and all was going extremely well for me. I was flattered! I puffed myself up and preened my feathers and sat there for a moment basking in the compliment of a fellow artist.
On reflection though I realised how wrong she was. It may be true that I have found a way of working which is new and exciting. I may be making work which really pleases me and which gains a few compliments now and then. But arrived? I don’t think that ever happens does it? In the March/April issue of Ceramic Review There is an interview with David Westcott. He talks about how every firing includes some new tests and describes the opening of the kiln as ‘still like Christmas Day’ because of that feeling of the unknown and the frisson of excitement. Hail David!
I know what my friend meant. She was talking about the fact that I seem to know where I am going and here she does have a point. I do seem to have found an exciting way of expressing my interest in the landscape which is new and different and which I am thoroughly enjoying. On top of which, people appear to like my work, which is always a good thing!
Indeed, when I opened the kiln last night and discovered the first finished piece for my mining project had fired even better than I could have hoped, I did get that lovely sense of having ‘got there’. But it is not so much that I have arrived, more that I now thing I know where I am going. This way of making works for me. However, as the interview with David concludes, ‘If you think you have made the perfect pop, you may as well give up.’
I haven’t! I am not about to! And I am delighted to report that every time I open the kiln is going to feel like Christmas for a very long time to come!