I seem to have had the best of all problems recently – I do not have very much to put on the shelves at Klay and almost nothing at all for the Open Studios which starts on 10th November because I have sold so much work over the past few weeks. This is a wonderful feeling in some ways but it does leave me with a problem!
I should be in the studio every day at the moment frantically making so that I can put something on the shelves. Somehow that seems to miss the point of what I am trying to do though. I want, more than anything, to enjoy my making. I want to have time to experiment, to hone my skills and to learn new things. So it really does not suit me to be having to work hard. I am sure that it would suit my bank balance, mind you!
Actually it is worse than that because if I feel that I should be making it puts me off and I don’t want to do it at all. So here I sit finding all kinds of excuses for not getting anything done and just letting the clock tick quietly on.
Nothing looking very ready at the moment!
Experimenting with monoprinting
That said, I have been getting a bit of experimenting done and here is lots of stuff wrapped in plastic which is half made and I do have a bisque firing on at the moment which will hopefully yield a few good pieces but finished work, ready to sell off the shelf is going to be in short supply in November!
So I have decided that I am going to do something completely different this autumn. I have been making a number of pieces for Tregony recently and I know that they have sold at least one so this time I am going to make no bones about my activities over the four days that the studio doors are open. I shall have my hands in the clay and, in tune with Poldark Series 2, I will be continuing to create more of my Cornish Mining pieces. I am looking forward to showing people how I work and I can always give my hands a quick rub if anyone wants to take a closer look at the work that I do have ready to sell or to make notes for anyone who is after that very personal piece which reminds them of a time or place which is special to them.
Beyond doubt the best thing about working on a commission is the moment when the client sees the finished piece. That is when you know if you got it right or not. So it was with my most recent commission which I had the pleasure of sending on its way this week.
Ready for handover.
I was delighted with her reaction to her vessel. It is a special birthday present for a member of her family and includes material from the woods on their land and details of the location and architects drawings for the house.
The colours which have come out in the patterns on the vessel apparently match those of the house, which is not surprising given the origins of the material but it is still gratifying to know.
Surprises even on the base.
I am particularly pleased with the idea to put the drawing of the house on the base. It is as if everywhere you look there is another surprise waiting for you, even when you turn it over there is something else to see.
But without doubt, it is the reaction of the client which gives me the best feeling. She was really happy with it and it clearly meant so much to her – considerably more than it did to me as I have never been to that part of the UK. Up until that point it felt like a job well done but as I handed it over it became so much more than that.
The finished commission
I felt as if I was launching a ship or something. I find that these vessels, which are so personal to the person who orders them, are so much more than any of the other work I am doing and I love the warm fuzzy feeling that the hand over gives me deep inside.
I have been looking at a number of artists during the research stage of my current Journey project and thought I would share with you two of the artists whose work I love and from whom I am drawing a great deal of inspiration at the moment. The first is Adam Buick whose work is itself inspired by the landscape but also by Korean Moon Jars which are his signature piece. I first encountered him at Ceramic Art London in 2013 where he was showing a film called Earth to Earth which I found very exciting. Since then I have searched out his work wherever I go and it never ceases to thrill me. http://vimeo.com/26597673. I love the way that he reflects and also makes use of the landscape within his pots and I find the multiple similar shapes intriguing.
The second artist whose work has been filling me with ideas recently is Robert Smithson. I discovered his work whilst researching this project.
Apparently his Spiral Jetty piece is very well known – but it wasn’t by me! The work which I prefer however are his smaller, gallery scale pieces.
I love the altered repetitions in these works and the relationships between the pieces and the spaces which they inhabit. His awareness of scale is interesting too. ‘Look Closely at a crack in the wall and it might as well be the Grand Canyon.’ This quote feels so appropriate for the way I think – a ripple in the sand can become the Amazon if you want it to, on the other hand the world is just a marble in the palm of your hand.
Contain: TO HOLD. To compromise; to have it in ME. To measure; to be equal to ME. To take up, occupy. To enclose. To hold together. To keep under control, restrain, restrict, confine,; to retain. To restrain oneself; be continent, keep oneself in chastity. The action or fact of containing; holding; restraint. (Shorter Oxford English Dictionary 3rd Ed. Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1973) Suppose this could be said to apply to all walks of life, not just ceramics.