Saturday, March 28, 2009


I am a little bit. Friend and fellow blogger, Judy Shreve, asked if we like the color blue and wondered why is has such a bad reputation among potters. I do like blue--one of my favorite glazes is blue and some of my favorite pots are blue. It is said that if you paint it blue it will sell. Not sure that is really the case.

Well, back on topic. I am a bit discouraged from the last firings. I am pretty sure I have figured out the problem and that should mean I don't have to suffer that failure again. But for some reason that does not lift my spirits any. Guess I just need to roll up my sleeves and get busy filling the kiln again. Maybe I can lift myself out of the dumps by making some great stuff!

I spent a couple hours Thursday and again today at SAMA (our art museum). We have a terrific collection of Asian art--lots of ceramics, ancient and more recent. For the first time I sketched pots that I particularly liked. I am not a 'drawer' and do not keep a sketch book of ideas as so many other potters do. I found it very agreeable. I look much closer, see much more when I am trying to draw the object. I suspect that it might have a significant influence on my potting--possibly in ways I won't be able to recognize. I am very attracted to the older, more primitive pieces-- pieces that depend on form and glaze for their success. I am not so attracted to the more refined work with intricately drawn/painted designs.

One of the pieces that I am happy about from the last firing is a salt & pepper set:

They fit into the tray like this:

I am pleased with this serving bowl:

It is nicely squared and seems to fit the red/black color combination.

So, back to the wheel. Happy Spring--we are buried in leaves! And it is so windy, they fly everywhere and in any opened door.


tsbroome said...

I went through a similar spell after the holidays and headed to the NC art museum in Raleigh for some consolation and inspiration. It helped a lot and got me thinking about what I like making and what direction I wanted to take. I like your salt and pepper tray a lot and and the bowl,think you are on to something with that.You just wouldn't believe all of the stuff I have thrown away this year with my soul searching but it has paid off and I have really grown a lot over the past year. It's all lessons, as my friend Stewart says! Hang in there!!

Sister Creek Potter said...

Tracey, Thaks! That is another downer I am dealing with--all the stuff I need to throw away--it is not good to keep it around to throw away. Besides, I think the experience of letting it go would be healthy for me all on its own. My studio needs a big clean-out, clean-up and re-organization--but I can't seem to get going with it. Good to have you on my team!

Judy Shreve said...

Gay -- I think the salt & pepper set is fabulous. I love your use of color & how the shakers fit in the tray. And I also agree the red & black together is stunning.

I think we all go through the 'blues' with this pottery life. I've just cleaned out my studio & threw tons of pots away. My studio is small and I needed the space, but I also think it is a liberating feeling to purge. I was tired of looking at that work that just didn't seem successful to me.

I have been so frustrated this year - loving my form - but being so disappointed when it comes out of the glaze kiln -- so much so that I am now working in earthenware. I haven't done enough with it yet to know if it's truly worth pursuing - but I am enjoying the process & excited to go to my studio again.

Spring is almost here -- that alone should brighten your spirits somewhat. And I find when I hit that 'wall' if I just go to my studio - put some music on & just putz around, it helps me get going again.

Barbara said...

I often remind myself to use one of my many (mostly empty)sketchbooks to put down ideas and for planning, but I don't do it enough. Sketching pots that you like is a great idea - so much better than taking a picture since you have to really look in a different way to draw. I hope to hear if it does influence you.
Your salt and pepper set is very strong with great surface detail.

Sister Creek Potter said...

I especially appreciate your comments since I am so fond of your work. I am intrigued with your process of layering slips and rubbing off some of it to get that special effect.
I really do think I need to clean out the studio of unnecessary stuff and all the old work that does not please me before I can get myself out of the doldrums.
I think I need to change the question I ask myself as I determine what work to save and what to toss. Instead of asking, "shall I keep this" I should to ask, " do I love this piece". That should cut through a lot of hesitation!

thanks for your visit to my blog and your kind words. I, too, am interested to see if I can see some influence on my work from my sketches. Probably it will be so unconscious that I won't really be aware of it. However, I so enjoyed the process I may try to keep up with the sketching and it may lead to more conscious application than I expect. Keep in touch!

Judy Shreve said...

I think we look at what other folks are doing and for some reason it looks easy -- but we all struggle. I took a workshop from a potter who had been making work for 30 years. It was so interesting to see him struggle with handles -- trying to decide which form was best. I was amazed - cause I thought he would know instantly what works. Being creative is not easy.

This year my goal is to begin to love process -- to quit focussing only on the end result. I think when you are process driven the results aren't so important anymore -- but somehow you begin to have more success. Creativity is a mystery - but it keeps us challenged & engaged.

I love your work too!

Sister Creek Potter said...

Judy, That brings to mind a book I read--twice--and just sent home with my son (your relationship with your son reminds me often of mine with Ben some years back). The book--very small--is "A Tractate On Japanese Aesthetics" by Donald Richie. He observes that the Western approach is focused on product while the Japanese is based on process!
Interesting correspondence!

Judy Shreve said...

I'm going to try and find that book. I'm sure Amazon has it -- thanks. It sounds like something I would enjoy. (Aren't sons wonderful!?)