Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Artmaking Just For The Heck Of It


Finally had a CLAY DAY –yaaay! Which will turn into a clay week, which will evolve into rotating my clay medium back into my artmaking production schedule. Though I admit it was tough to get rollin’ because it’s been awhile since the studio has seen any water and mud action. I'm down to the last two bags of some Tile White, a ^06-1 clay. I wanted to use it up before the new shipment of higher fire clays arrive. I was out of sync remembering where all of my favorite tools are and had to re-acquaint myself with the clay shelves. I picked up these sweet “clay tool” finds for $3, a glass tray and vintage rolling pin at my favorite Thrift store, Bishop’s Attic, which I think helped shift me into 4WDrive. When I saw these gems I immediately thought of the making marks on clay. The glass tray actually has the coolest circular pattern on the bottom which was perfect for mark making on a tray or trivet. The circles reminded me of my friend Katie Sevigny’s work.

It was a bumpy start to my clay day even with the Thrift store treasures waiting to make their marks. I needed to prime my “clay brain” so I broke out a couple of my favorite clay books and thumbed through them -before my fingers were muddy.

Fortunately, I have a wonderful library of highly visual art books –a must-have for those days I’m a little lite on inspiration. It really only took about ten minutes of looking at the incredible images in “The Penland Book of Ceramics” and my head was clear of all the other "mommy, wifey, welder, puppy care-taker, bills payer, laundry doer, inventory taker, accounting" stuff that has accumulated in my brain and I was OFF! The “Handbuilt Ceramics” book put it best in chapter eight on “Inspiration,” that it’s important to grant yourself some “play” time which can be very difficult when we’re self-employed commercial artists. I tend to put a lot of expectations on every day I’m in the shop or studio. I try and make each piece of art “count” either financially or try and ensure that the outcome is successful. This is a dangerous path for artists to walk –I know, I’m in therapy for it. No, just kidding, I’m not in therapy but probably should at least be doing some sort of palates-yoga

moves to tone down my screaming, entrepreneurial, artmaking brain. I admit (though a bit embarrassing) when I was rolling out the slabs for some mark making, I was actually thinking about how much clay to use, what size, what the finish would be, the turnaround

time, could I make multiples if I had a good design and how much these new pieces would sell for! Geeze, let it go Shake, have some PLAY time for goodness sake! So in the name of play, I don’t know how any of the pieces are going to be glazed, though one of the large slab rolled trays is screaming for some Raven sgraffito work -which my customers HAVE been asking about…


10 comments:

Gary's third pottery blog said...

oooh, that is rather groovy isn't it, esp. the last tile :)

ang said...

oooh ahhhh love the rolling pin!!!

traceybroome@mindspring.com said...

Thrift stores are the BEST! I find so many things for my hand building classes and kid's classes. Great molds and textures. Love that rolling pin, that was a big score!

Cowgirl Goods said...

You're cracking me up. SO basically what started as a "let's have some fun with clay day" turned into a how the hell can this bring in some cash ola. I have to say I'm a sucker for tiles. We went to the mecca of tile in Mexico. Clay is cool;)

Patricia Griffin said...

Play and creativity versus product, production and profits -- the tricky balance!

cindy shake said...

Kinda wow and hip huh Gary?!

Hi Ang! I also found another giant wood rolling pin this summer I bought with a small grid pattern!!

Yeah Tracey, the Thrift's kitchen bins are like treasure chest's for me -the gals there must think I'm quite the cook -ha!

Marj- I have to p(l)ay for my incoming 500 pounds of clay SOMEHOW!!

It's tough isn't it Patricia? I really feel experimentation and play are so essential to growing as an artist but finding the time and allowing myself "time off" for it is really hard for me to do...

Linda Starr said...

The play is important I notice I've made some cool stuff when I take the time to play, love the tiles. That rolling pin is great, never saw one like that.

cookingwithgas said...

I know what you are talking about- it is hard to say slow down and play a bit to see what comes out.
I always give myself some play time and then it is back to real life.
I like the tile as well- and I can't imagine that anything you do would not be wonderful.

jimgottuso said...

clay day... yay! looks like you're having a ball with the tiles. that penland book, i don't have it, but i think i remember it... is that the one with sergei isupov in it showing how he makes those figures?

cindy shake said...

Hi Linda, thank you :o)

Awww, thank you Meredith :o))

Yes Jim, Sergei's incredible pieces are in there! Amazing how fine his illustrative brush work is!! It was a cool demo how he constructs his pieces. The book makes us want to believe we could construct such magnificent sculptures!