Friday, October 24, 2014

Art is Love

We all have moments of enlightenment, some more profound then others. I suppose once again I have had one as a means to describe a true artist. This has always been a problem for me, how to get others to understand the mindset of a artist, and their passion.

I blame my sister for this predawn inspiration, once again she send me a video of some amazing Korean Potters doing their work, and the Love they had for their work was just as beautiful as their piece it's self. I know that feeling, I saw it in and wanted to run to get my hands in my own clay.

Art is a form of love, artist share with the world. Love for their Subject, their medium, the technique. However those passions are constant, many think of it as a drug in the system we always need more. However there is something I find only in True artists that make them shine when they are working, a type of love i have only ever seen in one other type of persons face. The parent of a newborn/child.

You see in the creation of a piece of art we are parents. We start with a simple act, for painters it's prepping a canvas, woodworkers it's cutting wood to size, for us potters it is wedging our clay. For me this like the moment of conception in a way. It has it's own quiet (sometimes not so quiet) beauty, in the act itself, the starting of a creation, all possibility.

Next the painter will make that first stroke, carvers that first cut, or myself that first touch to center the clay on the wheel. These are nearly all foundation acts, the paint stroke will most likely be covered, the cut will be replaced with a deeper one, and the clay will be formed, but these are the building blocks, the first touch of love we give our work. For many it is both daunting and exiting when we think about it, like a parent waiting for a newborn to arrive, not even knowing if it is a boy or girl. We know we want it to be a general form (like having 10 toes 10 fingers) however it's personality has yet to show itself.

We then start the hard part, of forming and working with our material. For clay pushing, pulling, smoothing, and strengthening. We put our heart in the piece, not for the later viewer, not for our clients or buyers. We do it for the pot, for ourselves, to put a small part of us into something that will go on and become something else.

For a potter the shaping is only the early stages. We then have to wait, almost let the piece grow, to fit into it's own skin. I imagine it is must like a parent watching their gangling teen learn who they are through puberty, hard not to step in now and then, but we have to let time do it's thing. Though we do step in, once they are strong enough to withstand some work we turn and flip the pot to carve it. We remove excess, add texture. As parents do when forwarding the education of their children, and teaching then values of the world, It refines, polishes and improves the art through guidance and care.

Then like a parent we have to let the one we made go through a series of hardships and trial by fire. The type of hardship and treatment making a difference to every individual. It is not easy for a parent or an artist to watch or wait for this trial to end. There could be tragedy, or unexpected complications, there could be loss or surprising wonderful outcomes. No mater, once the experience is over those that come through the other end of the process are stronger by far, and brilliant with their own light and colors that would never have been seen without the ordeal. They can withstand heat, and water, time and are far stronger then they may appear.

As artists we have pride in out creations, sad for those that do not make the full transformation. We as artists make the change with them often, and see things we can learn from often, however we have a soul of out heart in each one.

When I give or sell a piece of my work to someone I am not only giving them a piece of potter. I am offering them my child. Like a father at the alter giving his daughter away to her new life. I hope they care for it, and treat it well. I know they will never fully know all that I have put into every form I create, they will never love it as I do. Though like a parent I know it must go on to the next stage of it's life, and not be held away from the world for my own reasons.

There are moments for shear pride however, when we see our creations, perhaps by chance in a place of honor, on display or as an item of treasure. In these moments I know a pride not in just myself but in the piece I see for what it has become.

That is the Love of an Artist.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Glazes for all

There are few things that are a given in the world of art, however one has always been the case. Clay and Glazes are the lifeblood of pottery. Talent and vision are the body of this art, however clay and glazes are the thing that runs in all potters. I myself have found that over the years I love the making and altering of glazes to meet my needs far more fulfilling and economical then using commercial glazes and clays. Having studied a good amount under wonderful professors in school and later on my own I decided it was time to make something I saw the world was missing. 

For years ceramic artists have been able to find recipes in magazines here and there, books and now on the internet. However I had yet to find a database that held more then a handful of recipes that were free to all.

True each potter has their own magic and personal recipes (I know I do) however I wanted to have a foundation for all to share knowledge and be able to experiment. 

For the last 14+ years I have been collecting recipes for clays, glazes, and other useful materials. I would like to officially introduce this database. Though I one day hope to make it part of it's own website at this time it is found on my own, and add photos soon. Until this point I can only add links to images. Yet all of that is on it's way.

I would like to welcome all glaze and clay makers to see what I have collected over the years and try out a few recipes. Note many of these are Very old, not all are food safe however I would not like to see these recipes disappear. Too many techniques slip away due to disuse so I did not discriminate.

Also note I have not made all of these, only a small percentage. I will not ask any subscriptions for this database or fees though would love for artists to share their samples via photos. I will link to your image on the recipe and credit the artist with their name or web address.

At this time I have a large portion of my collection posted online, though I am adding often, and would again be happy to add any recipes and the name/website of those that send a new one to me. So far over 1200 glazes and variations are posted along with hundreds of Clay Slip and other Recipes. This is based in Google Drive at this time for the ability of all to see it free with minimal software issues.