Viewing single post of blog Threads


I signed up for a ceramics course at Mac Birmingham. Now I am not a ceramics person. Not really. I like playing with the clay, I have taught it at a very basic level to teachers, and to children. I have a go myself every ten years or so! Last year when I was in Jamestown NY for my Full Circle exhibition I spent some time at the Pearl City Clay House with Debra Eck, delivering and taking workshops, and I threw my first pot for about 45 years. Anyway… having had a bit of a refresher, I decided to sign up with a friend, just to play, learn some new techniques, and most of all to enable me to be creative without stressing about results and outcomes etc. What I have found interesting, just three weeks in, is that despite me saying to myself this was a fresh thing, my own thoughts about my existing practice sneaks in regardless!

The first coil pot we made, Moira said to me “It looks like one of your drawings, the same lines!” And she is right. I suppose my hands just naturally move in a certain way, whether I’m just moulding the clay with my fingers, or using tools, the same forms appear. Interesting. That pot has now been fired and I find myself thinking how to glaze it so that those lines are emphasised.

While listening to the lecturer, I found myself “doodling’ with a small piece of clay while she spoke, and suddenly I have a collection of small thumb pots, connected like lichen cups. I cannot escape them! Last week I rolled out a piece of clay in order to try some sgraffito this week. I had no ideas in mind particularly, but having been talking to Bill and Helen about fish, what I ended up with was a freeform flat plaque with fish on it. I let my mind wander wherever it wants, try to give it completely free reign, and dammit it barely leaves the back yard!

I had thought that the ceramics might be a bit of a creative holiday, which it is, but I find myself just using the new materials to think through the same old knotty problems from a different angle!

I’m still making the textile “pots”… but find myself working out in 3D how to arrange them using the clay… Like a drawing! It will be interesting to see how this works out when I get these pieces into the studio next to the work I’m doing there to see if they inform my ongoing thoughts…