Tuesday, I went to East Lansing to go a ceramic workshop. I haven’t been to a workshop in a LONG time. When I received the Michigan Ceramic Art Association newsletter that Julia Galloway was going to be at Michigan State University, I knew I had to go. Julia Galloway is one of my favorite ceramic artists. I love her forms, but more than that her surface decoration is captivating.
She showed us this great way to get inspiration for how to decorate the surface of your pots. You take a slide projector (digital is too pixelated) and set it up with different slides of pots with varying degrees of surface decoration. Then you focus the slide on your pot at different depths to show smaller and larger surface decoration.
It’s such a cool idea to get inspiration! You don’t necessarily need to copy the image of slide on the side of your pot, but it definitely helps get the creative juices flowing.
Look at the line quality on Julia Galloway’s man, the way the glaze pools on the bottom edges on the leaves, and way the cobalt blue smears across the bottom right corner. It’s sensual. I could go on and on, but go take a look at Julia’s site. I didn’t go to the workshop to make pots like Julia Galloway, I’m past that stage. I went to get inspired by watching her work and listening to her stories.
The most important thing she told us was that it all works out. We all persevere. You just have to get miles on your hands. What a perfect statement for a potter.
For me, this has been the best year for my business to date, but the worst year for me physically. I’ve been in a funk since early August. I made more pots between March and August than I did for all of 2011 and crashed, hard. My hands were running marathons, back-to back.
I was messing around on Pinterest and you can look up your name or your company, like one would do on Google. I found one of my images posted to “seriously sexy pots.” It was an image I took, some time ago, of bisqued work in progress. It was part sgraffito, part underglaze pencil drawing. Earlier this year I decided to narrow my surface decoration technique to only drawing images. It was great. Everything was streamlined, tight, and dip-and-go glaze, but now I long for glaze drips and uneven slip application.
The reason I streamlined was because I felt I was all over the place. I was making pieces with inlaid slip(mishima), sgraffito, and drawings. I was overwhelmed. In retrospect, it wasn’t so much my work that was overwhelming me, but my life. Last year was a rough business year. The first 3 months were spent remaking work, due to a bad clay situation. I almost closed in April 2011. Now compare that to this April and it’s a lot to handle, but it’s doable. At the time, I couldn’t process what was going on because I was in survival mode.
Why am I telling you this? Because sometimes from the outside, looking in, everything seems nice and neat and tidy. It’s an illusion. In the end it does all work out, but there might be a lot of kicking and screaming along the way.