I started writing this as an email in response to a friend’s question, but it turned into something that looked more like a post than an email, so here it is. He asked if I’ve found that common aesthetic I was talking about in my first post.
I guess it’s complicated. My hand-built things are definitely, unmistakably mine. Even when I make non-footed things (I just made some pinch pots with weird rocket-fin legs that I like an awful lot) they have that same round, pinched, lumpy thing going. And a certain stockiness that I really like. Which is weird, since I’m not stocky at all, and I think people tend to mostly create self-portraits when they’re doing humanoid forms. Stylized or idealized, but still self-portraits. Like people say that authors always write autobiographies even when they’re writing fiction. So anyway, yes, there is definitely a sense of “me” in my handbuilding.
Thrown forms though, I’m not so sure. There are certainly common elements in my work. The way everything is always very tight and controlled. The roundness (spherical-ness) of everything. The curve at the tip of my spouts and curve at the top of my bottles are similar proportions.
One thing that really bugs me though is when people just have one thing they do. Like at showcase, the one person makes the gargoyle heads, the other person makes those polka-dot fish on strings. I really like both of those people’s work, but they just keep doing the same things for years, no variety. I don’t want to be the chick that makes the vases with the feet. I want to continue to have variety in my work, while maintaining a sense of myself in, so people say, “Oh, did Amy make that?”
I also want to avoid making nothing but functional things. Not that there’s anything wrong with making functional things, it’s just not what I want from my own work. Guess I’ve always (since I was a small child) seen myself as an artist. I’ve experimented with a lot of different media, and clay is the one that stuck (for now), but I feel like I need to get back to the “art” side of the art v. craft line. And to me that line is about intent and message. Art has a message beyond the object. A mug can be a piece of art if it has something to say other than just “drink coffee from me.” A painting can be non-art if all it does is go with your couch. Gross oversimplification, but hopefully you see my point. I want my work to mean something to me when I’m making it, and hopefully to say something to people who view it. Something more than “I’m a little teapot…”
I feel good about the concept I’m working on now. I hope I can find the time to finish it before I lose momentum. Need to go to Georgies on Saturday…
PS: Good news! Lisa (pigeontoeceramics.com) and I are getting a studio in June! More room to spread out–yay! And did you notice that I finally opened an etsy shop? Only two items in it so far. Baby steps.