When I was little I would sit for hours on the floor at my Mor Mor’s house with a stack of paper (usually the b-side of a completed to-do list, phone message or halved pages from an old notebook…my grandma grew up in the depression when recycling was necessity) copying images of Mickey Mouse and his cohorts from a coffee table book about Walt Disney. Occasionally there were innocent accusations of tracing images. But, I never traced.
There were times when I would have particular trouble getting an image just right. Eraser crumbs everywhere. Once, someone told me that good artists didn’t erase. I think I believed that for a long while. The truth is, good artists…great artists erase; leave ghost images, paint over, change directions and problem solve. In fact, erasers are sold in great big blocks at the art store. Buy two!
I draw. I draw a lot. I draw on paper (really lousy, inappropriate paper that was previously used for printing circuit layouts) and on clay. My ceramic work is more about surface than form; more about narrative than function (and the craft world – if it cared that I exist – makes an audible gasp).
I draw primarily because I need to. Not in a compulsive or obsessive way but as a means to learn an image and the spacial relationships before I translate it onto the clay surface.
My drawings for clay are pretty finished images. I think of them more as sketches because they serve an alternate purpose; cut to the size of my clay slab, they function as my glaze reference. However, the ceramic processes that I use will not translate all the detail captured on the paper. I’m good with that. Prefer it, even. Still, I record everything to help me define and understand the space. Because, unlike paper, there ain’t no eraser for clay.