Inspiration. If we don’t actively conjure it, we are at the unforgiving mercy of our muse.
Knowing there is always clay to be wedged – well – it gives ceramists a leg up. When our brains can’t find traction, when our hearts are numb or heavy with burden, the physicality of our craft is the first step in the right direction. Muscle memory and the labor of our hands brings us to answers, ideas, and new questions.
This month – four stories of inspiration. Working with each author I began to assemble a common image in my mind, one of an individual floating in space surrounded by events, information, questions, observations, and all are just particles that need to be homogenized into some kind of tangible material. Their labor is modeled for us in their stories as they harvest one particle after the other from the wild reality that surrounds them. One particle is wedged together with a second particle, with a third and then a fourth, and so on until a recognizable, digestible form is evidenced. In that form (or process, or history) something of the maker, the person wedging these particles into one, is revealed and in that revelation there is common ground.
Observing a conversation about the origins of a technique, Lauren Mabry questioned the content and premise of the query. “We should not let any one voice dictate what aesthetics are off limits because they believe a particular artist has already laid claim to the territory.” Advocating for a consideration of context, Mabry shows up with a cohort of artists we should recognize and contemplate in any conversation on the trending aesthetic of extreme glazing. This article is available for FREE to the general public.
A maker in search of an intangible essence. Maia Homstad looks to the Shakers and their tradition of pursuing perfection “through purity, goodness, equality, kindness.” The Shakers are not known for their pottery, but they did believe in the labor of the hand. The essence of Shaker philosophy was a guiding companion for Homstad.
This journal of the past year will read as familiar to some and a luxury to others. Regardless of the readers take, Today. This Year. is at once unique and universal. Oesterritter has captured a stream of consciousness experience. She allows us to witness a rational and deliberate mind wrestle with processing the unpredictable variables of life in a time of upheaval. Within the grounding moments of her studio practice, Oesterritter conceived an exhibition – Myopia. When many fronts competed for attention, she combatted the chaos by focusing her gaze.
Dr. Tim Willey
Fascinated with historical craft practices has led Dr. Tim Willey to a life researching the relationship between ecological systems and historical construction techniques. Along the way he rekindled an interest in open-firing methods, returning to a practice he began investigating as a student. With a workshop in the North Norfolk countryside, he now manages twelve acres of mixed woodland – a perfect working environment with plenty of fuel for his open-firings. He shares his love and methodology in A Revealing Process.
Be well everyone and thanks for reading,
Jill Foote-Hutton, Editor