Monday, December 21, 2009
Walking in the snow the other day I realized that our dog Jack isn't a white as I thought! This contrast got me to thinking about color and how we perceive it. As a potter I base a lot of my decisions on the pot as it appears before me at any given state. The reddish brown in its wetness, the pinkish hard bisque fired state, and the finished, glazed, and fired piece. The latter stage is maybe so complex that it's hard for me to put into words. Anyway, let's just say there is a very important player that isn't included in this drama.
To illustrate, let me go back in time, a little. A couple of weeks ago I was making a pot roast and needed some fresh thyme. The thyme was in the Lindsay Rogers pot up in the studio window. When I got there I needed a taxi for the thyme.
So I reached for this bowl that sat in a pile on a shelf. The bowl was in this pile because as I unloaded my last kiln these pots seemed lackluster and uninteresting, and put aside. Uninteresting until I put one into action!
I snipped bunch of thyme and dropped it into the bowl and hurried back to the kitchen to the roast. On my walk down I looked intot the bowl and noticed a liveliness that didn't exist when the bowl came from the kiln. The bright green of the thyme and the brown and gold flecks of the bowls were a thrill. (don't you think?) Well, I thought so.
There are many layers of subtlety to my experience as a maker and sometimes I have to put the blinders on and just make. But in this case I am missing out on so much potential. One of the processes that anyone working with clay (with the intent on firing it) grapples with is seeing with the mind's eye. The glazes and clay change so much on their path to being finished that one must imagine what it will look like, feel like in the end. It is a process that can can debilitating or exhilarating. I have to be somewhere in the middle of intuition and practicality.
Using this pot invited me to look at its qualities, it's colors, and form a new experience. After all of the pots I have made in my life, I still have to remind myself why I am making them.
Well, that's the excitement of ceramics!