As I write, I’m sitting in my very warm studio firing a bisque. The AC is set at 90°. An occillating fan is moving the air about a little (it helps). My kiln is old (read: not computerized), so I’ve got a few more hours in the studio while I turn up switches. Once I get them alll on ‘high’, I’ll head home – only to return at the approximate time and temperature the witness cone should drop.
My faith in the kiln sitter has been shaken since I had a pyrometric bar fuse to the sensing rod on the sitter. Overfired the load and warped shelves. Created several redundant shelf sculpures that took endless hours to chisel apart (no fun). So then, I make every attempt to be back when the witness cone goes down.
This firing is the first I’ve done since May. Feeling a bit unproductive during these sizzling summer months. Nevertheless, I have lived vicariously through a few ceramic artists’ blogs – people that seem to have more creative energy than I ever will. They are not just productive, but prolific. (Wow, feeling tinges of guilt…call me a slacker) I guess I should be doing much more.
But, the day only has so many hours. And, frankly, there is a correlation between the dry summer heat and clay work. That delicate balance to successfully deal with handles without them cracking (tea bowls vs. coffee mugs)…or the precise hour available to trim when the clay is still cooperative (light, well designed work vs. paperweight). If you do any decorative surface work early in the process, your window is shorter still.
What I’ve taken away from those prolific producers of ceramic wares is that I’m not them. Ceramics. Clay. Art…is what I do. I love what I do. Create. On many levels it’s how I communicate – through process, image, surface and occupied space.
However, it is not who I am. If I were to make a list of roles I fill, ceramic artist would be but one. Those roles will change over time. But, who I am will remain constant. I am a child of God, a follower of Christ. That doesn’t change. Yet, it drives the ways and means of the things I do.
What I do is secondary and clay would follow things like wife, mom, friend, chief cook and bottle washer, preferred human obsession to our quirky dog (seperation issues), et. al….
I suppose until clay makes it’s way closer to the top of the list, I will never be as productive as some artists. I think it important to keep perspective. What I do is not necessarily who I am but an avenue to be myself.
(Man, it’s getting hot in here!)
Mark Your Calendars! Plan to Attend!
Cap, Cup and Mug Sale, Show and Trade
October 7-8, 2011
1410 W. Guadalupe Rd, bldg. 1 ste. 103
Gilbert, AZ 85233
~a sale of handmade cups and mugs by more than 30 local artists.
~bring in a new knit cap or socks for Set Free Ministries and receive a 10% discount on one cup or mug.