Yesterday I spent some time taking some photos of individual works in preparation for my Spring Pop-Up sale on April 30th.
The images turned out great- often I feel like the images I take, while ok, don’t really show the pots how I see them. With these photos, the images are not only showing the pots how I see them, they are actually helping me see and understand my own work.There's no special photography tricks involved with these photos, they are just standard documentary shots with very little editing. But there is something about how these photos allow me to focus on the qualities of the pots without distractions that is helping me put my aspirations into words
You can get a sense in these bowls of the complex dance between the glaze surface and the form. When I make these bowls I stretch the rims fairly aggressively, which creates a fair amount of tension. When the pot fires, it “unscrews” itself slightly (think of how your muscles relax in a sauna), and in that relaxing of tension there is a slight undulation in the form. You can see that undulation in the first photo, and how it is reflected in the flowing interplay of the glazes.
There is an element of serendipity in the pots I am making. It is not about “chance” exactly; it’s about setting up conditions that invite the kiln and the glazes to collaborate in the determination of the finished pieces. That collaboration; that kind of listening and responding to the materials, is a major motivation for me to keep making.
While many of you in different parts of the country (I'm looking at you, Carolinas) have been basking in Spring temperatures for a month or more, we are still eagerly anticipating the true start of Spring. We have the occasional teasing sunny days with highs in the 60s, but they are interspersed with cold rainy days in the low 40s. This is April in the Midwest, and to be honest it has been more difficult for this Southern-born boy to adjust to these weather conditions than to winter's extreme cold. I am embarrassed to discover how much my mood is affected by the daily changes in the weather. Every warm/ sunny day I’m bright, cheery, and optimistic. Every day I wake up to overcast skies and frost on the windshield I’m grumpy and miserable. This is a bit of an over-simplification, but the impulse towards those two poles is there and is surprisingly powerful. I can look at the forecast and know what’s coming, and try to brace myself for it, but it happens nonetheless.
I have lived here for seventeen years now, seventeen years, and I certainly know what to expect in April. Yet I always find myself on this emotional roller coaster. I guess I have some version of Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.), where my mood is affected less by a season than by the day-to-day variations within a season: I’m just as likely to be happy as sad.
This April, in reflecting on this crazy condition, I’ve come to think of it as oddly comforting (although still annoying). So much of what I do with my artistic practice is to seek to find the extraordinary in the ordinary, which is to say I’m seeking the intersection of the physical and the spiritual. If the two are inter-connected, as I believe they are, then it is only natural that changes in my physical environment are going to affect my state of being. If l I am more sensitive to these changes than the average person (I suspect I am, although I don’t know for sure), perhaps that is less an indication of a problem and more an indication that I am learning how to be truly present in the world. If that is the case, then instead of telling myself to “just get over it," I can allow myself to affirm those feelings, to let them flow through me, and even be a little grateful for them, even in the midst of my occasional grumpiness.
the studio chair
A place for me to ramble on when I need to take a break.