About The Artist

My photo
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!

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Perfectionist Working in an Imperfect Art

I'm pretty sure I was born a perfectionist. I am never satisfied because I constantly strive for perfection and perfection, in all things except the Lord, is unobtainable. And I know this, yet I still constantly want everything to be perfect. So now I am beginning to ask myself why I ever chose to engage in an art as imperfect as pottery. With jewelry I can plan out the placement of each bead, create symmetrical patterns and have a result that is both balanced and aesthetically pleasing. With pottery...I can't even throw a plate that is anywhere near a perfect circle! With pottery, I never know what I am going to get, I can't plan out a single piece, I draw designs and they never come out the way I pictured them. Its really quite frustrating.

So I was venting my frustration to an old friend the other day (his dad, Terance Painter, is an amazing potter) and this is what he told me about my imperfect art:

"As far as the pottery is concerned it isn't perfect but it is the uncontrollable elements that make it so amazing and beautiful. You don't force pottery to do what you want, you experience the pottery and let the pottery do what it naturally wants to do."
Oh and how true this is! Often times I've sat down at my wheel with pieces in mind that I wanted to create, I wedged clay specifically for each piece and not a single one turned out to be what I had planned. I have come to the conclusion that the clay has a mind of its own and there's no changing its mind. If a ball of clay wants to become a bowl, there is no making a mug out of that ball of clay, it will be a bowl or it will fail. As the artist, you have no control over the clay. Here lies another problem: I am also a control freak. In the first entry of the houseblog, David wrote this about me: "Mallory loves animals . . . maybe because she can keep them caged." Sad...but true. I have a great need for control in my life, I don't feel settled or comfortable in a situation that is out of my control. So once again, why have I fallen for an art where I cannot control my work's outcome?
Having given it much thought, I have come to the conclusion that my love for pottery was instilled in me in order to teach me some very valuable lessons. Nothing has succeeded to try my patience yet keep me as engaged as my pottery has; nothing has proven so uncontrollable and yet so intriguing...well nothing that is, except Tenzie, but that's a long, frustrating blog all on its own and we won't go there.
So anyway, normally, if something continually tries my patience and refuses to let me take control, I will get angry and frustrated and usually say the hell with it (if it is something I can say the hell with...unlike work). And I am not saying my pottery has not made me angry at times, but I still have a love for it that I have never known in an art before. I could plan out 10 projects and have 9 of them end up in a soggy pile of to-be-recycled clay and still want to throw more!
So I feel this art has become a passion of mine because I need to learn patience, I need to understand that I cannot control everything (or anything for that matter) and that with the clay, as well as with my life, I cannot force it to do or be what I want, I just have to experience it.

No comments: