November 9, 2009

Running with the Ball

Just wrapping up the day with a brief post, here. I couldn't stop making the little jars and working out the handles. When you're on a roll, keep spinning. It probably doesn't get better than the moment when you're in the flow of a certain shape.

The tools are there, the clay is just right, and most importantly you've made thirty already! It's like going that extra mile, or firing that second chamber of a wood kiln. It's the gravy!

the table at the end of the workday

the first series

Another pot that I worked on today was one based on the one that Kyle gave me last spring! I had to smuggle this one out of the cupboard because Stacey has been keeping it in her car! Anyway, what is there about the desire to copy? It is an interesting process, one that we as potters do instinctively, as a way to understand pots, our own pots. I think it's a necessary part of our process. Where would any potter be without mimicking the pots that have come before her or him?

detail with impact driver and Carpenter cup

We build on the history. It's like getting passed the ball and deciding what to do with it. Run? Yes!! So the process works like this for me. I start out with calipers, er, no, just kidding, although I have used calipers to measure and put down on paper a pot's proportions, but that is rare for me. I set out to make a lot of the pot in question. I rarely throw one out, but keep them all to help figure out and compare line, weight, details...Then I make a bunch! Each one in the series is a reaction to the one that came before. I do this until I forget that I'm trying to make a replica and get to a good flow where I'm accepting the way the pot wants to be made with my hands, my thoughts. The original and it's nature are all the time in my mind. The uncountable times I've used this cup weigh in on some subconscious plane. Out of the twenty five that I made this evening, about 2 or 3 were right on. At least for now. The other part of this pottery riddle is that I'm comparing all of my attempts on a finished pot. There is information that I'm picking up from the fired weight, the texture of glaze and slip, the pattern, color. I can only speculate on the way my copies will fare by the time they are decorated, glazed, and fired. Yet I have to start somewhere. Generally features that I pick up on in the original are exaggerated. So tomorrow the riddle of the Carpenter cup will continue and I'll mull over some more thoughts about this process.