Saturday, November 19, 2011

Finding my way

Just a few years ago, I shared a booth at the Clayworks Guild holiday show with my friend Teresa Pietsch. I was making functional pottery, firing cone 10 at Claymakers, using the studio glazes. I also had some horrid blue slip earthenware and some cute little planters that I put pansies in, I was going through a Vietri wanna be stage. Basically I was looking for what would sell. I sold very little in fact. Bless Deb Harris for buying a cup from me, she made my day that day! The work was ok, not great, not me. I was using the resources I had available, studio glazes, wheels, kilns, and my work looked like it was being made in a community studio. I'm thinking back to this, because today my friend Laura and I went over to Raleigh to the craft fair at Pullen Craft center. Our friend Barbara McKenzie teaches there and we went to support her. Barbara has been my friend and teacher and mentor since I moved to Chapel Hill. There was a LOT of pottery there, all similar, all had that community studio look (not Barbara's, her work is fabulous). There were some nice things but there was a lot of work that reminded me of what I used to do. It really showed me how far I have come, and on the way home this evening, I realized how hard I have been working to get where I am right now. My work is still evolving and I have so much more I want to do, but I like where I am, I like what I'm making. I think it took getting out of that community studio atmosphere to find my true voice and find the thing I loved to make.
I was not proud of the work I had at that sale that year and I did a couple of other sales with less than wonderful work, but people started buying more of it, so I was encouraged to keep on. I am proud of the work I will have next week at CDCG. I won't have beautiful functional pottery like a lot of artists there, but I will have pieces that make me smile, and pieces that speak to me. These are pieces that I have worked on for months, an evolution of a new voice I hear.
Maybe they will speak to you. Come see me!

ps: Sorry I didn't make it down to Seagrove, but I was thinking about all of you and hope you had a great day!


John Bauman said...

Nice post.

Funny thing, that finding your way in clay -- finding a voice.

In some ways it strikes me as looking at the night sky. You catch sight of stars in the corner of your eye, but when you turn to look at them more directly, they disappear.

Some times you can just simply try to hard. The goal of being yourself gets in the way of being yourself.

And then, in frustration you finally just pursue a direction that you find interesting. You solve the problems that that direction requires you to solve.

Then, one day in the future you look at what you've been creating and you see the results of your interests and your problem solving, and you see less of your inspirations.

You have a voice. You arrive at the destination by avoiding the goal.

Seems to me, anyway.

Tracey Broome said...

"you finally just pursue a direction that you find interesting. You solve the problems that that direction requires you to solve."

This is exactly right! The problem solving has been the most fun part of this journey and what has held my interest. The questions"what if I did this" "I wonder if I could do that". The challenge of solving and achieving and all the while making something that inspires me!
Oh this clay thing! Thanks for the comment John, enjoyed your thoughts :)

DirtKicker Pottery said...

That's really cool Tracey. I have enjoyed watching your work evolve over the past year. Your heart is in it and it shows in your creations.
I have to say, it's very difficult to find your own voice when making functional pottery. I try not to be influenced by other potter. I try to do what you're doing. Make stuff that make ME smile :)

Michèle Hastings said...

very thoughtful post... we missed you in Seagrove, but we understand ;-)
best of luck with CDCG!

Tracey Broome said...

Hey Cindy, you are doing your thing just fine! Thanks for the comment.
Hey, Michele, wish I could have been there, but I had to get work finished this afternoon for the kiln tomorrow, so a quick trip to Raleigh was all I could manage! Hope you had a good day :)

Tone I.Lyngstad said...

Hello Tracey.
I dont comment your posts so often, but I follow you blog-I find it interesting to read, and it is very much inspiration in your exellent work. You are lucky to have other potters/artists to discuss with, and back you up.
I also made fuctionel stuff by the weel in the beginning, in the middle of the 1990,s. This was not selling much, and there was huge problems with cracking glazes. Here in Norway functionel pottery bacame old-fashion and out, during the 80-90is, and still is.
Leaving the pottery-way and make it clay-artist-way is not easy, if possible at all-and not for everyone. It seems to me you found it.

( it,s not easy to express what I mean in english, so you dont have to publish this comment if you find it extraordinary..)

Melissa Rohrer said...

I'm still trying to find my way. It's too easy for me to get caught up in wondering what the public wants because, naturally, I want to sell my work. I have a feeling if I threw that out of my head finding my would come a lot easier.

Tracey Broome said...

Hi Tone, I understood you perfectly, so glad you left a comment! Glazes like to crack with me too and do everything else they aren't supposed to!
Hi Melissa, we will never figure out what the public wants, they don't know themselves :) Follow Steve Jobs example with Apple and give them something they didn't know they wanted !! Nice to hear from you :)