Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Clay and Blogs: Telling A Story




I shipped my clay piece to North Carolina yesterday for the Clay & Blogs Show. As I was boxing and bubble wrapping, at the last minute I swapped out what I was going to send for the piece pictured above. The wall tile is one of my most favorite pieces that I was saving for myself. The sgraffito illustration shows how my heart feels about working in clay. This was a bittersweet moment. A couple of years ago at this time, I had high hopes of working more in the medium of clay to compliment my metal work. I purchased a couple of kilns, electronic kiln controller, had my electrician accommodate the additional power needed, loaded up on tools and materials, got a new slab roller, saturated myself with wonderful ceramic books and regularly had my hands “in the mud.” I loyally followed several clay blogs and learned more from these clay artists and potters who Blog than from all of my books combined. However, recently I made the difficult decision to move on from spending a lot of time with clay and started downsizing the amount of space dedicated to clay in the studio and "gifted" my clay related materials and tools. The most difficult part is that the majority of artist Blogs I follow and enjoy are clay Blogs. I feel like a deserter. I’m normally not one to not finish something I started and to not be focusing on clay makes me feel like a quitter. But the truth is I found working in clay too unpredictable. I also discovered I don’t have the “patience” (a key word for working in clay!) or the stomach for failures. The process of firing, glazing and firing, to me, was a real science that needed a lot of practice and experimentation –technical ability helps a lot too. I was so looking forward to attending the Clay & Blogs Show in North Carolina that I even applied for a grant to travel to NC and further my exploration in clay. I know I could have been easily inspired by all of the talent in the “pottery capitol of the world” though it was not meant to be. The grant or the trip. So yesterday, as I shipped my piece to the Show it was actually a bit sad as the well-packed box tumbled into the gaping metal mouth of the USPS receptacle, a bit of literal closure if you will. My solace is that the wall tile and therefore a small bit of me will be among those great potters at the Campbell House Gallery in Southern Pines, North Carolina October 1.

The show is the brainchild of Meredith Heywood of Whynot Pottery in Seagrove, NC. It's called "Clay and Blogs: Telling a

Story" and brings together 50 potters from throughout the U.S., England and Australia. Click here for a link to Meredith's Blog with a complete list of those participating and links to their Blogs. In addition to the Show at the Campbell House Gallery, there is an Online Exhibition. If you're like me and can't make it to North Carolina, you can take a virtual tour of the on-line portion of the Show.

13 comments:

Linda Starr said...

Oh Cindy, don't feel like a deserter, you of all people work so hard and sometimes creative people tend to spread themselves too thin and thus dilute what they can do effectively. I too have some favorite pieces I am looking over and am thinking I need to release them so I can go on, that's all part of it.

Linda Starr said...

I meant to add that I am one of the recipients of your generosity and I don't see how I can ever repay you. You and others like you are one of the reasons I can go on in clay, thanks so very much.

Patricia Griffin said...

Aw, Cindy, we won't let you "desert" us! I am a big fan of your metal work and your incredible creative spirit. Clay or no clay, you are part of the tribe!

Judy Shreve said...

Ditto what Patricia said -- you might not have your hands in clay - but we all share in your wonderful spirit by reading your blog. And that tile is beautiful --

Hollis Engley said...

Hey, Cindy. You do what feels right to you. It's all about creating, anyway. And with you staying in metal, clay people might have someone to do collaborative work with. I'm just sorry you're not going to be at the opening, no matter your medium. Keep posting, we'll keep reading.

Cindy Shake said...

Awww, thanks guys. I was nervous to write that post :o) and I would so love to throw a few back with everybody at the opening! Can you believe some of the pieces that Meredith has been posting in her Friday Nibbles?!

cookingwithgas said...

You have such a big heart and I don't care if you go sell pencils on a street corner- you are one of us!
This post was so truthful and thoughtful.
I for one plan to keep checking in with you and seeing what you are up to.
You can leave the clay- you just can't leave us.

ang said...

no you can't, those black and white pieces were amazing!!! just kidding love the new header :)) and sweet loe ya work either way you are a inspiration whatever the medium ....cheers, i'll be toasting from here for the opening... hey had a thought maybe we could vid skype in????

Tracey Broome said...

Don't speak too soon. Think some more about that clay work with metal. I suck so bad at glazing and I got sick of the failures too, but I found a way around it. I don't use glaze much at all now, but use the bare clay with some oxide stains, I'm starting to incorporate rusty metal which works so well with clay. Think about ways to add clay to your metal without the hassle of glazes and you will add a whole other layer to your work. Yesterday I even dug through my broken shard failure pile and added some of the broken shards to a piece. Sometimes things I try and quick too soon come back around in a fresh way, you just never know! As a clay artist that loves rusty metal I learn a lot from your blog, so it all fits somehow!

Tracey Broome said...

PS: That header photo is breath taking!!

TropiClay Studio said...

Love the header! I love the views up there. I was stationed out on Adak island in the early 80's, and spent some time vacationing there on the mainland. That said...
I absolutely love the metal work! I have seen a lot of good work, but yours is by far - top shelf.
Don't feel bad about leaving clay, I started with pastels and painting, and then discovered clay... soft,malleable, moldable clay. I started losing track of time in the studio, and even missed a few (or more than a few) classes while in that time warp called the wheel. So now I have a couple of shelves full of acrylics, oils, and watercolors. Brushes and canvas, Pastels and LOTS of nice paper. Good thing I have a studio at school to store it in ;-)
Can't wait to see what new metal forms appear under your torch!
Happy Cutting!
Robert

TropiClay Studio said...

By the way... I will still follow your blog!
Can't get rid of us potters THAT easily! ;-)

HENHOUSE POTTERY said...

Your post made me teary eyed today. Love the tile, love your clay work, love your metal work, love your unselfish and neverending creative spirit. You are an inspiration in any medium, and will always be a part of our pottery community. I mean, good lord, they even let me be one of them! :)

I think my only question is - who did you give away all of your dead bug/fish clay molds to? If they are still around, maybe I can talk you out of them? You know there isn't another potter who would appreciate a good dead fish mold the way I would. LOL