Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Red Wine Musings......

I'm probably going to regret sitting down at this computer in the morning when I read this, and shouldn't blog after many glasses of red wine, but what the hell...... I had a meeting with a group of women from Wesley's school for the silent auction fundraiser we do in conjunction with Art In The Woods. (this is clever because her school's name is Woods Charter School). I am on this committee mostly because I bring the red wine (not really, I just have talented artist friends that give donations). I am a bit off from the rest of these women. Example: they all have great hair styles, cute sweaters, cute shoes and husbands with mostly 9-5 jobs as lawyers and such. My husband shoots pictures for a living and I make pottery. Tonight, I walked in with a green and black paid wool shirt, jeans and boots, later in the evening I noticed that I had some glaze on my shirt because I was glazing a sculpture when I realized it was time to leave for the meeting, I'm not sure I brushed my hair today and have not cut it in a very long time because I don't have time or $$ for hair salons, I just braid it. I feel like such a misfit around these Chapel Hill moms, (and I still act like I'm about 12) but these women are very cool and funny and smart and I enjoy talking with them although I live in a very different world. For instance, the mom who hosted the meeting at her house tonight would not let her daughter have a brownie before going to bed. Hell, Wesley could eat the f'ing brownie in her bed if she wanted to, who cares, it's chocolate!!!!! It's important! Two of them mentioned tonight that they had taken pottery classes before and could not get it, sigh.....anyway, my point is, this is one of the reasons I love talking to all of you in this blog world. You get that I don't think about brushing my hair because my pots are leather hard now and need to be trimmed, and I have to bisque today because I have to do a firing this week for a show deadline, and on and on... you guys get it!! It was fun to be with these very different women tonight, our one common bond being our children and our participation in their lives. But I felt as I almost always do, the one on the outside looking in, I have always felt that way. Is this how most artists feel, or just adult kids of dysfunctional upbringings. I wonder......
So, other news, Gerry passed that godforsaken kidney stone, a demon looking thing with little spikes, he is much better. Yesterday, he told me to lock up the guns (keep in mind that we only have a BB gun that belonged to his grandfather) but he was heavily influenced by Percocet and in severe pain and wanted to end it all. Today, he was back at work. Amazing that this tiny little kidney stone could cause so much agony. Take my advise everybody, start drinking lots and lots of water and lay off of the sodas. He drank over 32 oz. of Dr. Pepper the day this started, a caffeine addict if there ever was one. It's not worth it, trust me.
And my last thoughts: the cups....... I hate them. They were in the bisque that I fired yesterday and as usual, I only like my functional stuff when it is leather hard. WTF! Love the big pot and am going to put it in a sawdust firing tomorrow, I like my sculpture, I like the stuff that serves no purpose. I don't like the cups, the bowls. Do I just need to pay attention to this and make stuff that no one can do anything with except look at it and go Wow isn't that pretty? You can't eat from it or drink from it, but you can dust it and look at it when you walk in to the room and appreciate it. I don't know.... this drives me crazy, people suffering all over the world and I am compelled to make art that does nothing. And the vases I made all sold. That just blows me away. We have no extra money, but there are people that will walk in to a gallery and buy one of my vases that are not that cheap and what do they do with it I wonder. I would love to meet the person that bought that crazy vase with the sculptures on it. I loved that vase, but never imagined that someone else would. But I sent one of my sweet little stars that I love to Meredith and it made her smile, so that's something. Maybe I'm just here to make people smile. Hmmmm, there could be worse things I guess. Here is what happens: I make cups and bowls, fuck them up with glaze. I make coil pots, vases, sculptures, decorative pieces and they always turn out the way I want them to. what is this telling me? I like making cups and bowls, I just wish I could find that one magic glaze that would make them alright and get on with it, then I could get that done quickly and spend time on coil pots and Raku. does this make sense? or do I just quit wasting my time and forget cups and bowls? I am sick of the quest for a glaze I like. The glazes I tend to like either don't sell well or they aren't functional or they are cone 10 and since I have this glorious non cone 10 kiln, I'm not going down that road right now!
It's just so confusing, isn't it? I envy the potters that have a particular style and they crank it out. and the potters that find these eloquent and metaphorical reasons for their pottery and express their views on their pottery as if writing for academia. I can't make two of the same thing to save my life, every day there is something different I want to make or try or test. I can't write an artist statement (I can't even read most of them) or write a philosophcal reason for what I do. I just do this, there is no reason for it, I just want to do it so I do. I have a few things that I like to make over and over and I make a lot of them, but there are so many other things I want to do as well. Of course there are clay artists out there that do make one or two of a thing and then move on. My friend Laura Farrow makes these amazing sculptures that are one of a kind and I truly love her work, so maybe it's ok to make a vase that you won't make again, and it's ok to move to the next thing and the next thing and the next thing. Maybe I don't have to make a dozen blue mugs (although I wish I could). I have a bunch of stuff glazed today that will be Raku fired tomorrow, so we will see how that goes, and then I need to figure out what to do with the mugs, clear glaze? 04? ^6? shard pile? ............. I'll just think about that tomorrow I guess. If you have an amazing glaze recipe that's just lying around that you think I would love, feel free to share! I'll test anything!
"It's all lessons, mate" (to quote our good friend Stuart from England, I love this saying!) and you know my head is going to hurt tomorrow from this bottle of wine......................


Trish said... wondered about an artist statement? I think you just wrote it! :) Do what you love. I like your honest red wine musings. It is after eleven here and I should be going to bed but now you have ME musing. In terms of glazes..why don't you layer up (dribble and pour) some of the cone six ones and see what you get...something wild and runny may suit you. Glad your hubby is healthy again. Cheers (I am raising my wine glass to you!)..T.

Anonymous said...

I for one am VERY happy you wrote that post! I'm up (quite early) with a bisque and you kept me in giggles AND in deep thought for a nice long time. Not an easy feat pre 6am (and pre coffee). Got me out of lurking too! I've been having similar existential "pottery self identity" issues recently. I don't have any ground shattering resolutions just the understanding I came to with myself that I'm happy to be making well formed, nicely glazed pots that people enjoy using and looking at. Will I ever be in any big shows? Probably not. I'm becoming ok with that. I love what I do and my target market seems to like the stuff. That for now is good enough for me.

Ok. I should stop before I get into trouble (pre coffee here). But regarding glazes, have you tried Raw Sienna from Mastering Cone 6 glazes? I love it and find it to be a very diverse glaze (needs slow cooling though).


p.s. making people smile is not something everyone does or CAN do. It is big!

cookingwithgas said...

and this is why I read you.
Just tell us what you think Tracey!
I love your mugs and maybe you are in a hold pattern about how to find glazes for them.
Put them aside, box them up, save them for a salt fire somewhere.
The beg for salt or soda.
Don't get rid of the bowls either- just don't deal with them until you are ready.
Make what makes you happy. It is so much easier to sell something you like to make instead of looking over and thinking, "who's going to buy this?'
And Tracey, in answer to your question about self.
Yes, most of us feel like we are on the outside looking in. I use to go to a meeting and look at my arm to see I had missed washing most of my arm.
Here's to you!

Judy Shreve said...

Tracey - what a great post. I love the raw honesty of your writing -- the reason we all love your blog.

The other day when you showed us the photo of the sculpture piece of the woman - my immediate reaction was how fabulous it was! Why in the world do you even mess with bowls & mugs? Who says art needs to be functional? You can express yourself & tell a story with your sculpture and coil pots. And that is important.

I agree with Meredith - do what you love -- set the functional stuff aside for awhile - making people smile & think is functional! & important!!

Glad to hear Gerry is healthy again. Do you know about oxalates in foods? Folks with a tendency to develop kidney stones should stay away from certain foods -- do a google search on oxalates. said...

Trish, I have been meaning to try the dribble thing so maybe this would be a good time, Miri, Hi! I found your blog the other day and it's just great. I have been meaning to put it up on my blog roll, thanks for the comment to remind me to do so. Everyone should check out your Mac and Cheese recipe!I appreciate your comment and am sort of in the same place as you.MH, you are right and I had come to the same conclusion, I'm just not ready to deal with the cup glazing yet. I have so much going on with the saggar fire experiments, I am putting them away for a couple of weeks and think about them. Judy, raw honesty, that's me. When you grow up in a very secretive house, it's good therapy! I do know about the oxalates, first thing I did was google diet and we are making a few adjustments. On top of all the caffeine Ger consumes he eats a lot of shredded wheat which apparently does not allow the calcium from the milk to absorb properly. Thanks to all of you, your comments were nice to get this morning, I was kinda dreading checking my blog after the wine wore off :)

Kari Weaver Hopkins said...

My goodness you guys are up early! Tracey, I'm in the same boat. I just moved from a place where I was very involved in my kids' school. No one "got" the pottery part of me.

Now I live in an awesome place for potters, so glaze in my hair is expected when I show up for a meeting!

Just keep making what you love. It's as simple as that.

ang said...

hehehehe i'm gonna wait til tomorrow to see if you delete it!!! funny trace, i dont brush my hair either only when i wash it!! and i have a cone 6 stain black that i think you'll like, remember the blackish teapots i posted a while back....i find it for ya....night night... said...

Hey Kari: Yep, I'm always up early! Ang, the black stain sounds good, yes please, and no I won't delete since I didn't say anything nasty about anyone this time! haha!!

Kim Hines said...

wow tracey, i thought i was reading a post about myself here. i think i go several days w/o brushing my hair (its short), always have clay on me somewhere, and overall feel pretty much like you do. on the outside looking in. i'm glad you posted this, i always thought i was the only one. of course i have no potter friends so had no idea others feel like this too.
your sculptures are so great, who cares if you like making functional work? put it off till you feel the need and just make what you're good at and enjoy. i spent so long sculpting that functional work is new and exciting to me, but i know i'll go back to sculpting on occasion. got to go wake the kids up, great post today!

Jerry said...

What a great post. I concur with everyone...make what you love and what you are compelled to make. That's why you're doing this. At some point, maybe *enjoyable* functional work will find it's way to you, but I don't think that it is something that you can force.

I always feel like I am floundering in a sea of finding myself as a potter. I think that this feeling is made even worse because I do not have a home studio (yet). Recently I get my hands in clay once a week, not nearly enough to have a consistent flow of creativity. I just work with my current situation the best I can and make, make, make. Enjoy the ride!

Anonymous said...

what a great post... i need to start drinking wine before i post. although i'm not female and i believe the pressure for me to look a certain way is less, i think that hairdos and shopping and fashion are all way overrated. your description of how you felt in the presence of the other woman was so accurate that i would like to commiserate and say that i've felt that way around people my entire life. i'm always the guy in the room who doesn't have a suit on, wearing a sweater that 10 years old and not being able to talk coherently about things i find uninteresting like college sports or how dangerous the highway is. when i was younger, i felt like a fish out of water but now it's more like i'm just taking the high road because i don't really think they want to hear what i have to say. that's what friends are for... to talk to with no pretense. i agree with miri, making people smile is huge and lots of people can't do it very well. as for the clay thing, i decided that i should just make what i want and not get too stressed about the rest (not easy though). glad gerry passed the stone, man, that just makes me shudder with fear.

Linda Starr said...

So glad Gerry passed that stone. The description sounds terrible.

Gary said I look like a bag lady with my clothes and I better get something a little nicer before I meet any of my potter friends in person. I guess I'll head straight to your house and meet you first, Ha! who has time to go clothes shopping. Walmart quit carrying my favorite long pants anyway.

Can you post a photo of the cups perhaps you are being too critical of your own work. I do love your sculptures and sculpted pots too. Perhaps as Meredith says you just haven't found the right glaze for your cups. I would have thought they would look good with just a clear over what you had done which looked spectacular to me.

About the brownie, I can see the mom's point, chocolate might keep her daughter up at night, it keeps me up due to the caffeine content.

Make what you like, I think I'm going to try Trish's advice on dribbling the Cone 5/6 glazes, they are definitely different than cone 10 and for sure raku.

All clay and wine before it's time.

Laura said...

Thanks for the shout-out Trace, and well jeez I have the luxury of making one-off sculptures because I work a day job! Selling the work takes a back seat to the making for me, but the trade off is much less time in the studio. I do agree though that people love and respond to work that you love to make! That energy just transfers somehow. I think your work is fabulous. You're too critical of it! Our big bowl of yours is the one we always reach for. Well-made, earthy, awesome. xoxo
From one outsider to another.

Hollis Engley said...

Amen to all. Eat brownies, drink wine. Maybe even at the same time. And make whatever the hell you want to make, Tracey.It's a short life and a big universe. You don't owe anyone a bowl.