I'm following a whole new list of blogs thanks to Meredith and the Clay and Blogs: Telling a Story exhibit coming up this fall. So I spend a bit more time at the computer reading blogs by other potters who are also spending a bit more time at the computer writing. This time of year finds a lot of us slower to start, more reluctant to get our hands cold and wet.
Yesterday I cleaned up the glazing mess and wedged some clay. Sometimes, I can rationalize my way out of working. I could throw cylinders today, but if I do, then I have to be able to work on them day after tomorrow and the forecast is snow and the kids will be out of school, so I'll get interrupted too often and the whole thing will dry too fast, and it will all be wasted, so my time would be better spent elsewhere. Like finding a better way of keeping my pieces wet or catching up on reruns of The West Wing.
I was reading Tracey Broome's blog this morning, and she got me thinking. She makes sculpture and some functional pots, too, but is never happy with the functional ware. I do the same thing. I'll be in the studio, looking over the shelves of work when it hits me that no one can actually use any of my pieces. So, I'll sit down at the wheel and throw some bowls, reminding myself that it's good to have some around to donate for Empty Bowls. I do throw cups for the Studio Tours simply because I can't stand the idea of using throw away cups for the cider and wine that I serve. I sell them cheap because they don't really match and are thrown too thin or have a rim that dribbles. When I tell people that I am a potter (not clay artist or ceramist), they immediately ask about dinner plates or soup mugs. I reply that I really don't make that sort of work because I don't enjoy it, and there are so many other folks who do it so much better than I ever could. I will talk about the artists who are represented in my own cupboard, why I like this potter's mugs or that one's bowls. Then these folks take a look at my work and try to figure out exactly what it's for. I feel compelled to be forthcoming about its lack of a specific function or else suggest some farfetched possible uses. Umm, one customer said she was going to use it for flatware...
I am completely content with not making traditionally functional pottery. I will still make bowls, not only because I believe in Empty Bowls and it feels good to donate, but because I really like trimming. I will still make cups for the Studio Tours twice a year, unless I have enough leftovers from the previous Tour. And I will continue to take suggestions from friendly folks as to how to use my pots. Lauren Bellero calls them "Room Jewelry".