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Friday, July 15, 2011

Barns, Bottles and Buckets

I have been going through quite a transition with my work this past couple of months. I felt it coming on before we went to Maine, but I was in a funk, I knew I wanted a change I just didn't know what it was. This past week, it just sort of clicked for me and I have been in the studio, throwing on the wheel again, making some molds, and changing up my barns. Lots of beach inspired work, the only danger here is that this could get into the gimmicky area and I have to try and keep it sophisticated and interesting. I plan to use some mixed media and some interesting surface treatment, so that should help and I just have to be mindful to keep the work on a more artistic level. I'm not making this stuff for the gift shops at the beach....
I made this little piece yesterday and it just made me smile. It has such a coastal feel to it, don't you think?
I have spent most of the summer walking along the Atlantic coastline, picking up shells, rope, driftwood, old boards, bottles, and rocks along the beach. They have all been laying around in my studio and I have studied them and kept them around me while I figured it all out. Their influence is slowly finding it's way into my work. I am texturing the barns now and they look like old driftwood. I am making bottles that resemble some that I found washed up on the beach, and I am putting shell sprigs on little buckets that will resemble old metal pails when I finish them.
I feel like I haven't seen the forest for the trees or something like that. Since I have been working on this beach inspired work, I have noticed that there are shells and rocks and driftwood all over my house. I have shells in drawers, on windowsills, in bowls, on shelves, they are everywhere, and I have always been this way. If I walk on the beach, I bring stuff home.
I grew up on the beach, much of who I am is because of living by the water, having sand in my bed every night, having skin that tasted like salt, having shells everywhere, it's all a part of the fabric of who I am. So why has it taken me so long to come to this in my work? I think it has to do with the snob factor we sometimes get when we are potters (at least for me, but I think others may feel this way as well). We look at those wood fired pots, those glazed with salt and soda, that cone 10 reduction shino, and that is the aesthetic many of us strive for. At least I have chased that dragon, until finally I am out of breath with it, and I have embraced my terra sig, my raku and accepted the limitations I have with my kiln, my property and my interests.So what if I put shell sprigs on some bottles and put terra sig on them. They are going to be really pretty and different and I am going to really like them, so what's wrong with that. This path feels right for me and it feels like who I am, so I am going to see where this goes. The rural inspired work will still be there, because that is also a part of who I am, but I am going to visit the traditions of my ancestors for awhile and explore the sea.....

11 comments:

JUDI TAVILL said...

See... I totally get what you are saying about chasing the dragon and being a bit out of breathe... I feel like I have chased it IN MY ELECTRIC KILN!!! grrr...I may see about wood... even thinking of returning to some smoke and raku...BUT... maybe just clean fired electric raw clay doesn't suck... well enough about me... I continue to watch your barns to pick one that is JUST for me!!!!

Tracey Broome said...

Hey Judi: I think your work is coming along beautifully! I have to get A LOT of barns made for three upcoming fall shows, so stay tuned....

SUSAN WELLS said...

She sells sea shells by the seashore!!!

Tracey Broome said...

Yes she does!

Anna said...

I so TOTALLY love the new barn. I like the feet on your old ones and THIS. THIS just rocks. And the texture is amazing. Nothing beats that old by the sea wood look and you have nailed it. Would love to know your secret. :)

I too am keeping an eye out for the barn meant to sit at MY house....

cookingwithgas said...

I just want bare feet and a fishing pole to sit on the porch and catch some fish- Love the new style and your left turn to the beach.
No problems here!
M

Michèle Hastings said...

you have to follow the direction that you insides tell you too... if not you get stale and bored. can't wait to see your new work fired.

barbaradonovan said...

Maybe not so much "snob factor" as you didn't start this work sooner cuz it just wasn't time yet and you needed to work through other things first to be ready to do this. And there's nothing wrong with pretty:)

like the new feet on the barns btw

Patricia Griffin said...

Hi Tracey - I know what you mean about watching the line between art and touristy things at the gift shop. I use shells on my work quite often and it just feels right. I live at the coast, surrounded by all the wonderful inspiration. I think when the work comes from that place (instead of sticking a shell on a piece because it'll sell), then it's all good. Your work is unique, thoughtful, beautiful.

jimgottuso said...

hi tracey,
totally dig the wood texture on that little house. i'm a sucker for driftwood, i used to go down to the falls of the ohio river here in louisville and bring home piles of driftwood to make things out of. never made much and still have piles in the basement somewhere. sounds like you've been getting the same unbelievably hot weather as us.

Tracey Broome said...

Hi all! I'm reading your comments, just haven't had time to respond to each one individually sorry!