For the past two weeks my work has been awful. My muse has left me and the result is many failed attempts to create. I think part of my problem though is that I have too high of expectations when I go to throw. I plan to make too many pieces and then get upset when one doesn't come out and its a domino effect from there. I have had days where I was unstoppable and have thrown 12 pieces in a sitting and I guess I just expect that to always be the case.
As of right now I struggle to leave my workspace with two complete pieces and usually I am dissatisfied with both. I have so many amazing ideas in my head that I just want to make it all at once and I think I'm aiming too high. I also feel like I'm lacking motivation at times. I look at my week to come and find my free nights to throw and plan out my time, only to get home after work one of those days and just want to lay around and read or hang out with the roomies.
One of the major problems with pottery is that it is time sensitive and every day counts. Let me explain. There are three stages of a piece of pottery before firing: Wet, leather hard and bone dry. The wet stage is obviously right after the piece is thrown and it can easily be misshapen coming right off the wheel at this point so it is just set aside to dry. Leather hard is the next stage which, in my basement, comes roughly 24 hours after I have thrown the piece. This is the most important stage when you can trim the piece, add handles and shape lids, carve and imprint and, in my case, add the necessary elements to make the piece look like an animal. Then the bone dry stage is when all of the moisture has dried up out of the piece and it is ready for smoothing with a sanding block and bisque firing. Bisque firing is the first firing of the piece, followed by glazing and a second and final firing before the piece is complete.
So if I throw on, say Tuesday evening, I have to work on those pieces Wednesday once they are leather hard or they will dry out and be left as-is. My problem is some nights I feel like throwing but the next day I don't feel like spending hours working on my leather hard stuff. Other days all I want to do is the hand-building work and the fun stuff but its a day to throw because I have no pieces made. Its tough getting used to the schedule, unlike jewelry making where I can pick up and put down a piece I'm making at any time.
I think right now the lack of motivation stems from fear of disappointment. My recent work has hardly been worth my time so I'm hesitant to keep throwing.
I am hoping this weekend will provide a little inspiration for me. I am traveling to Dillsboro for a pottery festival where all the local potters will be doing throwing, glazing and firing demonstrations and have their work on display. Also, most of my pieces in Waynesville will be bisque fired tonight and I will be glazing Saturday, hoping to get them all into a glaze firing that evening and back by next week. Then I should have most of my Christmas gifts done and some pieces for a gallery or two. If I have several pieces come out that I really like, I think they could also be an inspiration and provide the motivation I need. Right now I'm just not seeing the fruits of my labor and I'm finding it hard to want to continue on.
About The Artist
- I am a jeweler, a potter...an artist I suppose. I have been creating hemp, glass bead and wire jewelry since 1996 but have only been throwing pottery since the Spring of 2008. I plan to open my own gallery and workshop within the next five years but for now I make my work out of my home and sell in galleries and online. I sell my work to feed my hobby and because I am running out of room for my creations in the house. My art, like this blog, is in it's beginning stages and I hope that as my reader you will join me in my journey as an artist and enjoy it as much as I know I will!