Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Recent work - fun teapots

I want to share some images of recent cone 9 teapots.  These were fun to make - functional but unusual, constructed from thrown parts.

This one has an air-filled double-bubble handle that stays cool to the touch when the pot is filled with hot liquid.  It pours a smooth stream.

This was a fun assemblage of parts - five balls thrown as closed forms, two pulled and twisted hollow tubes, a pulled handle, a thrown neck with flange and lid-keeper, and a little perforated lid. Named "Teapot with Balls", this one was accepted to the Baltimore Clayworks exhibition "100 Teapots V", Jan 15 to Feb 27, 2011. Retail price $550.

3-spout teapot with ring handle. The middle spout pours hot liquid. The upper spout (on the handle) pours blessings. The lower spout is a handhold. The sand-blasted surface is soft like human skin.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Power to the Potter

I was an insecure kid. I didn't know any artists or craft-persons.  Pottery - unknown.  Sculpture - nothing.  No tradition. Television culture. Class clown settled down and pursued a career in medicine.  Why?  I knew that other people would value this choice ... and I couldn't think of anything else to do.  I worked hard, went to good schools, became a competent physician, ... but came to see that I wanted another kind of life - a quieter and more creative one. I dropped out and had the good fortune of stumbling into clay.

I had gotten into medicine expecting that my efforts would be valued.  In the first years in my own studio, I had the naive expectation that calling myself a "potter" would automatically give me a new identity, sense of community, and source of pride.  It took a while to realize that changing my label was just a step in the right direction.  I didn't find myself until I was able to see my place in a much larger context.

I'm at peace.  I am humble without shame or worry.  My past mistakes are lessons. I don't care about money or recognition. I'm open.  I presume nothing.  I'm learning.  I share freely.  My sense of well-being does not require certainty, familiarity, order, control, perfection, or justice.  I always try to do the right thing.

I want my work in clay be loose and playful.  I want to develop my ability to improvise spontaneously around my ideas as I'm working - to work without a precise plan, precise control, or the nerdy intrusion of my intellect. In order to be as loose as I would like, I believe I need to maintain skills that can only be acquired through the discipline of production work.  I intend to continue cycling between production work and playful work.

An inner voice calls me to a creative life.  Following that voice can be scary and lonely. I've learned that success is impossible without risk-taking and persistence.  My trepidation, procrastination, detours, intellectualizing, idealizing, pretending, ... my studies of ceramic technology, ... my efforts to make safe pots to sell, ... my efforts to teach ... are all just ways of dodging the risks and labor of making original physical objects.  A chicken potter is a very small potter.  A secret potter is no potter at all.  I will put myself out there every day.