Friday, January 7, 2011

To Ponder

to consider something deeply and thoroughly; to meditate.
to weigh carefully in the mind; consider thoughtfully.

I like this word Ponder. I never use it, but I like the way it sounds, so southern. I have been pondering a lot this week. I am in a very contemplative frame of mind, not really sure how I got here. I was in this place already and then last night Wesley and I went for her Christmas gift Tarot reading, and now, so very much to ponder! I liked this reading, it was fun and thoughtful and has caused me to be very introspective today.
One thing that has been on my mind is again that Chuck Close quote that caused me so much angst. If you are new to reading my blog and missed the quote, it was something like this: amateurs look for inspiration the rest of us just get to work. I steamed over this for a while, all the time trying to be respectful of Mr. Close, whose work I do admire. Well, yesterday morning, I just got to work. I haven't felt like looking through books, magazines, other blogs, not inspired by other people's work, not wishing I could do what someone else is doing, I just got to work. My head is full of so many things that I want to do from sketches I did over the holidays and all at once it just came to me what this quote is saying and I looked at it in an entirely different way. I do feel inspired to create art when I am riding in the car and see a beautiful landscape, or when I hear a really great new song. But here is how the journey has gone. Seven years ago I took my first pottery class at Clayworks in Charlotte. I made the exact same thing the teacher showed us. Then as I got a little better, I made all the things that she made, then I started looking at work that was coming out of the kilns there and I made all of those things. Then I started looking at books with pictures of other potters work and I tried copying all of that. Then I started surfing the internet and would bookmark artists I liked and copy them. Then I started trying things on my own, not much worked out but it was a start. Now I know what I want to make, I don't look at other people's work and get inspired by that, in fact I want to be as different from other people's work as possible. So now I think I understand the quote a little better and I am understanding myself as an artist a little better, and I know that the path ahead is going to be interesting this year, because it is going to be a year of building and learning about the work that will stand as my own and no one else's. This is very exciting to me and I feel almost like I am vibrating with energy. I worked on a piece today and it was slow and thoughtful. The girl that did my tarot reading said that I should slow down this year and things might not go as fast as I want them to, but this morning was slow and I liked the pace. I may not produce as much as I want to but the work may get more thoughtful, at least I hope so. I am also feeling my wheel calling to me and I want to throw some big work for Raku. The hand building is great but I miss my wheel. This will sound strange, since I just turned 50, but I feel like I might be growing up a bit (not too much, but just a bit!) so we will see how that might affect the work I do. And since I am a Libra, this could all change tomorrow and I will be 12 again!
The painting in the photo was given to me by a friend of mine to thank me for the commission I did for her over the holidays. She does lots of birds and eggs and houses, we really need to do a show together. So that's if for now, I'll be away from blogging for a couple of days, got stuff to do. Nice weekend everybody! We have more snow coming!!!!


ang said...

yeh collaborative show... thats an idea!!!!

Sister Creek Potter said...

I love this post! I just read "Hannah Coulter" by Wendell Berry and it has got me thinking, too! ( A wonderful book, if you'r looking for something thoughtful to read.) I think pottery work invites reflection and profits from it also. Love to hear more about the Tarot reading. Wishing you a thoughtful new year!

Linda Starr said...

There's much to ponder in this post, sorry couldn't resist, I am gemini so I change constantly, I know the feeling. I don't think I'll ever grow up. Perhaps I should have gone to the readings by Linda I saw that time looking for an RV, sounds interesting.

Hollis Engley said...

I think you've arrived at a good understanding with that Close comment, Tracey. I don't know exactly where he said what you heard, but I heard him say something much like that on the Charlie Rose show on PBS. He was at the table with a few other artists. He said it not in a manner to put down amateurs (whatever that means) but to to say, "We all go into the studio and just get to work, and the work comes." Which is actually right. And when I saw that, a couple of weeks after your angry post, I thought I might say something to you about it, but it seemed too soon. But it seems to me that you and I do exactly that - we go into the studio with some ideas and we make the work come. You, frankly, much more quickly than me. I honestly don't know what "inspiration" means. For me, it's probably an idea, or a form, or a handle, or seeing the slabroller for the first time in a year and thinking I might make some slab pots. I don't know if I'm inspired as much as I am energized by an idea. But those two things are probably exactly the same. But work is what makes it all end up coming out of the kiln.