Saturday, June 01, 2013

Finding ones voice

I love, love, love, Ann Van Hoeys work. Ann is a Belgian potter who after years on and off as a hobby potter, at one stage decided to make it her life's work and boy, did she make the right decision. Her large forms are simple and so elegant, and her porcelain mugs are exquisite. You can check out her work at the link above and watch her process on some videos on you tube.

Finding ones voice was on my mind this morning as I was loading my tiny test kiln. Life's circumstances which caused us to move cross country and give up my big studio and soda firing, after finally finding my voice in ceramics, has been huge. Choosing to still work with clay, albeit in a retirement schedule, and opting for earthenware and electric firing out of necessity, it has me wondering if I will live long enough to find my voice again in this new direction.

The test kiln is filled with the final slip tests, which are just tweaks of the many tests I've done in recent months. Tomorrow the tile I dipped this morning should be dry and that little kiln will have the last of these tests only firings. Then I will have to decide on a narrow range to work with.

Right now all the pots I'm in the middle of decorating, only have a white slip. Some pots have simple sgraffito decoration, and some just the slip with some under glazes. Decorating these is agonizing. Lack of confidence in using new materials with no idea of the outcome has me almost frozen at times. I know I could just leave it simple, pick some colored glazes, and that may be a choice at some point if I come up with forms that can stand on their own; but for now I just want to be able to sit down, put those under glazes in front of me, take a brush in a hand that has no experience or talent for drawing and some how find a way to put dabs, dots, and swaths of color on these pots and see what happens. Whatever the outcome, I will continue on this road with its unknown destination, but maybe I will meander a bit slowly and settle for picking up some speed as I go along.

1 comment:

  1. I think finding one's voice in low fire is especially difficult due to it's long history in kitch. In the last twenty years terra cotta has become more 'respectable' due to the work of so many fine clay artists. If you have not yet seen them, two books worth looking at are The New Majolica by Matthias Ostermann and published by Lark Books.

    Personally I feel that I walk a very fine line between kitch and my own slightly ironic style.