I had breakfast with my pottery friends Charlotte and Kristen today to touch base on pottery chat, kids and stuff and I told them I would do this so here goes. I am sitting on the porch with my Sam Adams so I am brave and stupid and ready to put it out there!
Yesterday I read a letter to the editor in Ceramics Monthly June/July/August issue(don't like to work in the summer, people?) regarding the artist statements of their selected emerging artists and I just have to say Thank You to the person that wrote this! I am too lazy to get up right now and go get the magazine and scan it or copy the letter so find yourself the letter and read it if you want to know what I am talking about.... basically this person is saying what I think every time I read an artist statement. What are you talking about, is usually my first response. I consider myself a fairly intelligent person, I was a straight A student, I can use proper grammar when forced to and I can have a pretty good conversation with you on occasion. But I can't for the life of me read most of the artist statements that get written by people mostly out of grad school with an MFA. I read the first sentence, lose interest and move on.
A while back I sent a draft of an artist statement to Alex Matisse, who I consider to be an excellent writer, in fact if he decides to not be a potter, he should be a writer. Anyway, I knew that I would get an honest critique from him. Problem was, it was a bunch of horse shit, and made no sense at all. I was writing as if I had been influenced by all those other statements I had read, which in fact, I was. I re read it recently and am basically mortified that I could write something so ridiculous! I think the problem was, I had nothing to say. I wasn't feeling anything for the work I was making. I am now, I know where it's coming from and I sat down and wrote another one because, these applications sometimes require one. I would prefer to just say, I like clay, I fire clay, I sell pottery and be done with it.
So here is the brave and stupid part. I told my friends that I would post my newly written statement on my blog, so here it is. Let me know what you think, feel free to edit and suggest changes.
Tracey Broome Artist Statement
I was born in a small town in North Carolina near the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, but moved to the coast of South Carolina as a small child and grew up in a town visited every summer by tourists from all over. I always thought that I would be a painter, but pursued a career in interior design instead and spent over twenty-five years designing furniture showrooms, retail stores and theater sets and props. I saw a wheel throwing demonstration at the North Carolina State Fair when I was forty years old, and signed up for a class the next week. That was the beginning of changing careers from full time designer to full time potter.
Although the sand and the ocean are important memories of my childhood, I find that I am influenced most by the rides through rural North Carolina and the visits to Seagrove potters, journeys my grandparents took me on in the summers when I visited them. I loved the barns, the fields, the abandoned houses, the rusty tractors and the colors of the country. Blue and white were the colors at home but in the country there was rust, barn wood, and green trees. I loved it.
I now create work that expresses the serenity and simplicity of those colors in the country, the influences of the barns and houses and sometimes a hint of turquoise from the ocean sneaks in. Most of my work is hand built using either slabs or coils. It is then fired in a gas kiln at low temperatures. My palette includes stains, oxides, and glazes as well as dry clay and, on occasion, acrylic paints. I also include mixed media in some of my work. I use templates that I have designed using drafting skills from my days as a designer, but I never know exactly how the piece will turn out until it has been fired at least once. I love the surprises I get with each piece.
I have a deep respect for the history of what has already been created and try to add to that lineage of creativity with my own personal vision. Art is a companion, and it is my intent that the objects I create originate through my own personal growth. My work changes constantly, but the influences of my past on my art are ever present.