Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Another big smack down and Linda Christianson

This might take awhile, go grab some tea.............
Ok, I was feeling pretty good about my work, photos looked nice, you guys gave me rave reviews, thank you very much for that, and then...... I read the post by Don Pilcher here and now I find that I am in the "field that venerates folks that aren't that good." Well, sh@# fu*# (I want to interject an exclamation here but I will give you the first letters and you can fill in the blanks).The fact that I don't even know who Don Pilcher is and have never used the word venerate probably explains why I wll never be in the same category as Polseno and Spleth in the first place. ( I don't know who Polseno is either, I need to get out more). So, I'm back to feeling like the mediocre potter.
This post just took the wind right out of my sails and sent me into a rage all evening. I read a post not too long ago by Sequoia Miller questioning the quality of work of a potter in a SoHo gallery, for crying out loud! How could I possibly strive to be good enough for the pottery snobs when someone that was able to get work in a Soho gallery is questioned. So, I'm back to wondering, WTF?!
This got me to thinking this morning about my experience with Linda Christianson. I was lucky enough to find myself at the Utilitarian Clay Conference at Arrowmont a few years ago, where I met some of the most talented and humble potters I have ever had the pleasure to meet. No one there was questioning the validity of any potter there, everyone was just happy to be around so much clay talk. My favorites were Bruce Cochrane, Linda of course, Victoria Christen, Kari Radasch, Ron Meyers, and Michael Kline, all humble, articulate, and talented, great presenters and story tellers. Linda is just bigger than life, and one of the most remarkable people I will ever meet. If any of you have had the pleasure of meeting her you know what I'm saying. In my next life, I plan to come back as her. This is what makes her so great. She greeted me on the porch one morning, I was just sitting there in a rocker all alone, having some tea, and she just stopped, shook my hand and asked me how I was enjoying the day, who I was,etc, example: if I was a kid taking guitar lessons from my high school teacher, and Keith Richards stopped by to chat with me, that's what it was like. I attended her workshops and can almost remember every word she said, and that is saying a lot for me. Usually, I lose attention in about ten minutes and drift away, can't be helped, but anyway.... Linda had a smile for everyone, truly interested in what anyone had to say, and just plain had a joy for life, clay and those around her. Not judging anyone there, not pompous or arrogant, just quiet and peaceful, like her pots.
So, I am having a break from clay for a couple of days, rethink my existence, write a grant, and plan for a little potter's retreat this weekend. More about that later. If you are like me and are questioning your work as a potter, just stick your head in the kiln, haha! I'm just kidding, I like my work right now, so screw it! A couple of posts I have enjoyed reading this week are from Jeanette Manchester Harris and Dennis Allen. Not that I don't enjoy reading all of your blogs, these just had some good thoughts for the week! Another good read: The Emperor's New Clothes


Judy Shreve said...

Tracey -- did you look at Don Pilchner's work? Go read my response to his comment.


You are in a remarkable place as an artist & clayperson -- don't let someone who you don't even know knock you off that spot -- carry on with what you are doing without even giving that nonsense another thought!

Tracey Broome said...

Yeah, I looked at his website, I don't think I'm smart enough to understand this type of work, or either the Emperor has no clothes, you know what I mean!? I keep trying to figure out if that post was tongue in cheek, a joke, or really serious, hard to tell.....

Rice60640 said...


His post took the wind out of my sail too and I was angry and irate! I took a deep breath and keep chanting -- It's only one person's opinion! Keep doing what you do, lot of people will like it but some won't. As I said, art is subjective! I mean -- some people actually LOVES Don's work. Have a great day!

brandon phillips said...

"many of the really good people don't write, much or at
all." Probably because they're potters not philosophers and they're too busy making pots. We don't all have time to sit around and think about the merits of the potttery industry while earning our univ. salary/pension.

Don't worry about it tracey, keep doing what you do. Your happiness is what matters, not what some douche elitist professor thinks(i fear that i'm on the verge of becoming one of these myself.)

Tracey Broome said...

Glad to hear I'm not the only one that got smacked down with this post. And Brandon, DO NOT become one of those elitist professors. When I was looking at images of Linda's work this morning, your work came to mind. Your pots are quiet and full of integrity, don't ruin them by becoming a snob! I agree that those not writing are working from 7am-7pm on good pots. I'm waiting for the 100 degree weather to let up out on my deck, so I'm inside writing! If I had a decent place to work,you might never hear from me!I'm using this blog as procrastination that's for sure, but man, it's hot out there!

Brian said...

Don't sell yourself short. If you're making work you love and are proud of, that's success. Whether some gallery snob in SOHO likes it is irrelevant.
You've been doing some really great work with your barns, and the deep connection they have for you really shows. Some people will like them, some won't. Some people like my work, some don't.
Then there are people who feel entitled to judge others as 'successful' or not. That's fine, just don't expect me to agree.
My success is on my terms.

Spirited Earth said...

i'm not sure i completely understand what occurred..did he write that to you personally?
if so then yes it was way out of line..

if it was just a general view of his.. i do not agree with it,but i would also not take it at all personally ..because..who is he in the big scheme of things anyway.

i do know polseno's work, i took a workshop long ago, at that time she was slipcasting her production line..ohoh how does that fit into don's comments.

one artist or another will always be thought of as BETTER.. one can agree or not.
all you can do as an artist/craftsperson is do your work honestly and learn as much as possible..
tracey, your work is lovely, don't worry so much about where you are in the pack or let someones comment ruin your day.
oh..just a little more.
if he is a professor..he is not making his living off promoting and selling pots.

Hollis Engley said...

I don't know Pilcher, though I have seen his pieces in CM and know a bit about his turn toward this kinda strange multiple-personality potting career. I don't want to be unkind about it ... but, come on. Let people make the pots they want to make. We're not competing with Hamada or Leach or Pilcher or anyone we've read about in CM. Most of us compete with ourselves to make pots that satisfy us and keep getting better. Screw the critics, Tracey. You make good pots.

cookingwithgas said...

I have meet this person-once and my opinion of him then and now has not changed.
And I have seen his work- I will keep my toughts about his work to myself- but let's just say his work has never called me to "pick it up" or "handle it with love", or "care about it".
So do I care what he says or where he says it- no.
Blah- Blah- blah.....

Tracey Broome said...

Hi Spirited Earth(is it Nan?) No this wasn't a personal attack and I didn't presume it to be one, just one more person critical of those that are less than Hamada or Leach and I find it tiresome. Polseno was mentioned in the post as one that should write about their work, I'm just not familiar with them, will have to do my homework. Thanks Brian and Hollis for your comments. I just fill that artists need to uplift each other, not criticize the efforts of us that are of the inferior pottery category, we just can't all be the most brilliant, why point out the obvious!

Anonymous said...

I just chalk Pilcher's comments up to an academic/conceptual point of view. He's looking for more of that in the blogosphere and not finding it, I guess.

On the other topic....Linda Christianson! I was at that same conference and had the same reaction. So great. I'd love to take a workshop from her sometime. I generally do a workshop as a vacation every 1-2 years, so I like to choose someone who not only will inspire my work, but someone who is fun to be around for a week or two. LC is certainly on the list!

Anonymous said...

"the Emperor has no clothes". thoughts exactly when I went to see what this dude was all about. But what do I know...well, I know what I like and that ain't it.

Like others have said, please don't sell yourself short because of one pompous "expert". I didn't comment on your previous post but I thought your gallery is amazing. That 'Désolé' piece has so much character and do your houses (love the mobile houses)and the rest of your work. Those piles of golden poo?? Not so much. (sorry if I offend anyone but I guess I'm having a pissy day too...that article rubbed me the wrong way). I could say more, but I think I'd better not... ;-)

Tracey Broome said...

Ann: So glad to hear from you and so glad you commented about Linda! If you hear of a workshop, let me know, I'll meet you there. I visited your blog, can't believe I haven't seen it before now, put it on my blog roll. We have a lot in common!

Tracey Broome said...

Thanks Miri, the article did one good thing, folks replied here that I haven't heard from and I have new blogs on my blog list! So there ya go! Pot 'o gold at the end of the rainbow, and it ain't a pilcher pot either! I'm just happy to know that I'm not out floating on a boat all alone :)

Trish said...

Tracey... I am just back from computer viruses/ road trips and 'stuff' and will say that I missed you and all the happenings in our clay world and I will stop later today to review all that has been shared in the last week, but suffice it to say... YOU do fabulous work, and are gifted in soooo many ways.Have a super day and talk to you later. t.

Nu Kua said...

In my modest opinion you and the comments that were written have hit on something that a lot of people don't get yet.
Leave the peanutgallery out of it!!! (quote from the teachings of Abraham by Esther and Jerry Hicks)
a lot of people are defining their lives through the opinion of others that surround them.
Nobody knows where you come from, what your story is and what your goals are, only you know that and that's the only thing that can be measured. (This wasn't meant personally to you Tracy, just general. I believe you do set your own standards)

I just had to laugh when he wrote that it 'isn't a crime' to be making pots because one likes to make pots.
Thanks for your approval of my live you al mighty Don.. :-D

and now; let's all have fun with whatever we are doing!
I honestly believe that live is supposed to be fun. I'm going for it! you to?? (I bet you say yes) :-)

Linda Starr said...

damn I had a really long comment and blogger ate it.

the last line is

What the world needs now, is love sweet love, it's the only thing that there's just too little of.

Please keep making your really good pots and writing about it too.

Dennis Allen said...

I don't "get" Pilcher's pots or understand his dislike for self promotion given the content of his website. But,then again, I don't understand why most of the "items" featured in Ceramics Monthly are worthy of publication.

I'll publish mine. You publish yours. We'll share the joy of clay,rant about a few other topics of interest, and maybe make some friends. Nothin' wrong with that. Nothing wrong with a little self promotion either.In marketing if you don't blow your own horn you just blow.
ps Thanks for the plug.

Kari said...

I think everyone is entitled to their opinion, and I survive by not taking anything personally. What Pilcher wrote says more about him than any other artist out there.

We all love what we love, we make what we love, and the folks who buy and appreciate our work can feel that love. Our pots "speak" to them. Doesn't happen to everyone, just the ones it is meant to happen to.

That's plenty good enough for me.

Ron said...

That's one lame post. I left a comment there. I mean don't open up a can a worms and then just leave.

Tracey Broome said...

Go AHEAD RON! I read your post over at the Don article, but what did you really think :)
Not a fan of Tom Spleth either, and as for the Jesus shirt, OMG, do you know what my mom would have done to me if she had caught me wearing a shirt like that? I wasn't even allowed to say darn in our house! Welcome back Trish, Amen, Kari, thanks NuKua, I totally agree, Linda, blogger ate a comment of mine on your blog the other day, we are even now I guess! and hey, Dennis, I haven't "got" Ceramics Monthly for awhile now, dropped my subscription and just go by the library to see if it's worth a look from time to time. Whew, that's about it, sorry for the short responses, I gotta go turn the kiln off and cook dinner!!!

Tracey Broome said...

Brandon, reading your post on MK's blog was priceless!!! Thank you for saying what we were all thinking!

ang said...

far out trace! i just thought i'll read your post before breakie....ha and what was that lil tornado all about...the funny thing is we all come to your blog to hear your voice and it seamed to get a lil quieter this morning due to some rude interuption! i have no clue who the guy is but will take meredith's rasberry under advisement along with all the other text smack downs!! turn the volume back up trace..:))))

S_crack said...

If you have a copy, or can borrrow a copy, read (or re-read) Art and Fear by Bayles and Orland. It sets me straight every time I have been in your position, and it will probably help you too.
I think this book is a must for creative people, an absolute MUST.

Tracey Broome said...

I did read Art and Fear a while back. Leonora Coleman lent me a copy, I don't have my own. That's a good reminder, I should get it, thanks.

Michael Mahan said...

Can't someone go back in their "history" and find the original for those of us who didn't get a chance to read Pilcher's post?

Michael Mahan said...

Friggin agitator! I found the post. Don should just keep his nose out of everyone's business if our mundane lives aren't of interest to him. Provocateur, indeed.