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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

about art

Wesley did a pretty cool thing a few weeks ago. She found this artist online and really loved her work. This girl is the same age as Wesley, she is selling her art and she accepts commissions for a minimal charge. Wesley commissioned her for a drawing of a vietnam soldier. I didn't post a photo of the drawing she got because that is Wesley's personal story to tell, but I will just say that when I saw it, I started having chills on my face and they ran down my arms. It was a very emotional drawing and really well executed. I think this girl has the potential to be an important artist and Wesley will own one of her early works.  I love that Wes found this girl, they have never met, never spoken to each other, but they now have this very personal connection through art. I also love that this young girl takes commissions and is making money doing something she loves and my child is supporting her.
My art, on the other hand, is at a complete stand still. I pulled the work I had in Outsiders Gallery yesterday. Pam, the owner, is a very sweet person and the gallery has some very wonderful art, I just don't feel like what I had in there was right for that space and nothing was selling. I'm not sure why, I looked at the pieces with fresh eyes yesterday and they are really great. I may get off my lazy ass and put them in my etsy shop. I really just don't know about this gallery business or any of this pottery selling business for that matter. I find the whole process of selling and promoting my work irritating. I want to make it, I want people to own it and love it, I just don't want to go through the selling of it. What I love are the emails saying "will you make a piece for me?" What I don't love is being a clay artist in NC. I knew this funk was going to come on when I went to see the show at the Greenhill Center. It happens every time I see great pottery. It goes like this: oh I love that glaze, oh that color is fantastic, oh that shape is amazing. I want to put some slip on something and draw on it, I want to use bright colors, I want to make some cups, I want to make a slab built tray, I want to do some wall tiles, I want to raku some vases, I want to fire a wood kiln, I want to make some pendants, I want to make some books, I want to weave a rug, I want to paint some watercolors, GOD! My head feels like it will explode. So instead, I sit and watch the Tour de France and do nothing but cook some good food for my family, paint some rooms, wash endless loads of laundry, anything but try something that I have seen. And then it occurs to me. These things I have seen speak to me but they are not of me. They don't tell my story, and if I came back to my studio and put some white slip or colored stains on some red clay, it would be a poor imitation of all of the multitudes of potters that are already doing that well. It's hard doing clay here in NC. It seems that everyone you meet is a potter or taking a pottery class. There is so much very good pottery being made in this state, that I sometimes wonder why I even bother. It's competitive, there is a certain "clique" factor that I really don't care for and this place is saturated with clay. I love making my houses, they do speak to me and I like them a lot. When I keep my head down and just work, I'm fine. It's when I get out there and look around that I get in trouble. So the time has come to get back to the studio, I have some pieces that I have to get done, so I need to get all of those other artists out of my head and do what speaks of ME.

22 comments:

Susan Wells said...

Yeah Sweetie. Keep your head down and make good art. I think you speak to the creative conundrum: of so many possibilities! where to start!? I have a mantra this summer: "Step away from the clothes line." So peaceful to hang and remove laundry! none of the pressure to chose in a moment: What to make!? It's: undees go here. Towels there. Washcloths all lined up in a row. How nice.

Tracey Broome said...

I know Susan. choices+Libra= mind explosion :)

Laura Farrow said...

I do sometimes share your sentiments, as you know... a couple funks a year I can count on. I only recover when I make a nest in my head to brood on, and spend focused energy on making my own work. The rest, I figure, I have little control over. xo

Tracey Broome said...

I hear ya! I'm definitely brooding right now, haha!

Michael Kline said...

I'm so glad you wrote this post.

The thoughts we have when we're not making work can be like walls, really. I'm the same way when I walk into my studio, sometimes overwhelmed, so I just clear the decks, make room to move, and that gets me going.

Here's a famous quote by Chuck Close. I edited the famous "inspiration" part to focus on the working part,

"But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that's almost never the case.

Clay sits there, we just have to pick it up, then both parties are activated (inspired)! I'm sure we'll be seeing some amazing things from you shortly!

cookingwithgas said...

as a friend use to tell me. "Honey just wallow in it". "When you are down just get down and wallow in it like a pig in mud. Then after you have wallowed, wash and move on."
She was a great believer in the wallow theory.
You will be ready soon, I feel it.
As to your girl, she is so special and so beyond her years.
Hugs Galore

Ron said...

Sarah used to put me on suicide watch when I'd come back from visiting Michael Hunt. Crazy. I know exactly where you are coming from. And really, it probably will never go away, not if we give a crap and really want to make great work. So it's cool. Be there, feel it, release. You're making good stuff and you care about it and people sense that.

Now as far as the marketing and selling...quit whining and buck up!! Get those sweet ass barns and houses out there !! People NEED them!!
Hugs, Ron

Dennis Allen said...

So, you think you are the only one who feels this way?

Tracey Broome said...

You guys are so great! Thanks a bunch for the comments. MK, I hear that Chuck Close quote in my head many days and you are so right. If I just go out there something happens. The only problem is going out there means working in a building when it's 100 degrees and I have no AC, so I'm feeling torn to get out there but not wanting to deal with the heat. Soon, though!!
Meredith, right now I am wallowing in dog hair and fleas! Trying to get a grip on my house, but ready soon to wallow in some productive dirt.
Ron, I know how you feel about the Michael Hunt thing, I agree, thanks for the pep talk, you're right, it will never go away, that loving other people's work. I have to talk to myself constantly and tell myself that I don't need to make work like someone else's, it is there for me to love and I can have my own voice.
Hey Dennis, I figured I was preaching to the choir, but it feels good to purge and move on some mornings!

handstories said...

oh, yeah. i'm all for a good wallow now & then. during one last year, feeling unable to move, someone said to me, "but if you do pick up the needle, something will happen". & it did. post wallow work, or the work i do to wade out of it, is often my best. peace to you.

Michèle Hastings said...

i have been in a funk for two days... there must be something in the air (heat & humidity induced?). You will feel better when you can get back to work. Get a good fan and work at night :-).

and yeah there are lots of potters and ceramic artists here in NC, but I can tell you that it's easier to sell pots here than in New Hampshire! I like to think the multitudes of clay lovers brings good energy to NC.

Tracey Broome said...

Yes, let's wallow!
Michele, I'm not complaining about the potters being here, I love every one of them, just wonder sometimes how I fit in the mix! I do think the heat wrecks our creativity some days, just like the cold does:)

Scott Garrett said...

Damn Tracey, you're good at this!... getting everything down and always seeing the mechanics of it all and knowing yourself well enough to keep to the path. I'm just so all over the place right now. I was good today and didn't even look at blogs or...shhh...facebook. Well, until now, but you are always worth it!.... don't worry about the rest just be your best ( i should have be in advertising ; ) .... i actually got clay on my hands tonight, phew!!, that was a relief. It really is about just starting something and following where it leads. Too much over thinking is bad, bad, bad.
Now where to i commend your blog for a national award??!

Tracey Broome said...

Haha,Scott you are too funny:)
Yay that you got some clay time, we need some cooler temps so I can be saying the same thing!
It's taken a lot of bumps along the way to stay on the path and even then I sometimes get side tracked, but we just have to do the best we can I suppose.....

Kings Creek Pottery said...

Hey there Tracey. It's so easy to let our inner critic act up and squash our vulnerable, creative selves...so wallow until you are sick of yourself and then get back out there! Who knows, maybe this wallowing period will lead you to the next series of...??!!
:)
PS time for a portable air conditioner- you are worth it

Tracey Broome said...

Hey Kathy, thanks! Trust me if I could put AC in my building it would already be there. I don't have electricity, just a drop cord running from the house:) and there is no future plans to have any. But a new house one of these days better have a studio with heat and AC!

JUDI TAVILL said...

I think the heat can definitely screw with you!
I had to read the line "it's hard to be a potter in NC" about 5 times to see if that was what I thought it was....
THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER my sistah... It is hard when you feel isolated in NJ and feel like people that collect(in particular fine) craft/art is few and far between... TRUST ME... I always think aren't y'all down there so lucky... so many great show, galleries, and customers who GET IT....So many venues to connect with other artists and collectors....Not as much here in the Garden State... West Elm, Crate and Barrel and TARGET don't make it very easy up here... the buyer is few and far between for special and handmade....But, sometimes you get hit with a few great believers... when it rains, it pours and then... dry as a desert...once again...Fight the good fight....

Tracey Broome said...

Judi, it is a great state for potters and pottery, it's just that there are soooo many and most all are sooooo great. It's competitive and sometimes hard to find your niche and sometimes it can be a popularity contest. Not all bad, yes most folks in NC "get" pottery, still there is a LOT of it. And then there is the problem with wanting to buy it all!

M E Garde said...

I went to hear my voice teacher at a recital. After hearing her gorgeous, pure soprano voice, I said I would never sing again. But the next day I started croaking again. ;-)

Amy said...

Love your honesty. Only one you in the world- and the world needs you and your pottery! :) Hope the cooler weather has been a good thing.

KB P. said...

“What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me . . . is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not.

But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story.

It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”-Ira Glass”

Tracey Broome said...

AMEN and thank you Ira!!!!