Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Pottery suffocation

Lately I have been feeling suffocated by pottery. Many of my friends are potters or clay artists, so when we get together we talk about pottery or we go see pottery. Most of the blogs I read are potter blogs, with conversations about kiln woes, glazes, craft shows, selling pottery, marketing, highs and lows.... many of the books I buy are ceramic books, magazines are ceramic related, I look at all the yummy ceramics on pinterest. And then there is living in North Carolina where everyone you meet is a potter or has taken a ceramics class. Since last July, I spent a good majority of my time in my studio. When I was not in my studio, I was at a craft show or taking work to a gallery or attending a gallery opening. I finally reached burnout on clay. Don't get me wrong, I still love clay, I still love what I make and will continue to develop these house forms, I'm not dead yet. But I have needed this mental break. I only sit still when my body is sick or in pain, so I haven't been very active physically for the past two weeks, but I'm feeling better now and I'm not sitting still much anymore. Since our vacation, I have taken a mental break from clay though, hardly thought about it, and I have slept through the night. Last night, I didn't sleep. When I closed my eyes, it was like looking through one of those kaleidoscopes and I had a night of thinking about new designs, show things I need to do, marketing things that need to be done, and I really need to get Etsy going again. No sleep, so I guess clay is coming back to me. However, looking at the forecast for next week, it is going to have to wait. I just can't work in my studio in this weather, too hot!
I want to have more interests than just clay in the future, so yesterday I went and bought a skein of yarn and got out my old knitting needles from high school and started a very basic scarf. It was so pleasant to sit last night and knit. The tv was off, Gerry and Wes went to bed early and I just sat in the dim lamp light with the clicking of the needles and the soft yarn and it was really nice. I have signed up for a weaving class that starts in September, so we will see where that goes. I may not have time to do both, but I am curious about other craft, so why not give it a try?

Yesterday, Wes and I went shopping for college stuff, dorm needs and supplies. On our way home we got caught out in the worst storm I think I have ever been in. The rain was coming at us in these white opaque diagonal sheets, the visability was zero, the wind was fierce and then it started to hail. I was so scared I was shaking and my heart felt like it would beat out of my chest. I was trying to think of what to do, I needed to get away from all the trees and power lines and telephone poles, I was afraid that something was going to crash on our car, tree branches were falling everywhere. At one point this powerful sheet of rain slammed my car and Wesley said, very calmly "this is bad", " we need to think about what to do here". So we decided to head to a nearby parking lot where at least there wasn't anything that could fall on us. She called Gerry to see if there were any reports of tornadoes in the area, but our cable was out. We were really afraid we had a tornado coming for us! We sat in the parking lot and watched the sky begin to clear and just as quickly as the storm appeared, it disappeared. Wes and I talked about our reaction later and decided we did good. We stayed calm, we didn't panic and we tried to have a plan of action to stay safe. There was a point when we were stuck at an intersection with no cars moving and trees bending all around us, that I was afraid we were going to be seriously injured and I started to think about what would happen if one of those trees crashed on our car. It was good to see how Wesley responded in this situation and I feel like she has good survival instincts. I usually respond ok in a crisis, I stay calm and rational and so does Gerry, so I think maybe we have taught her well.

I am so over this month. It has not been a fun one and I am ready for fall to get here! Just get me through the miserable, hot, humid month of August and I will be ready to get back to work. First thing I have to do is clean up my studio, it has become a dumping ground and one of my shelves collapsed. There are cobwebs forming and dead bugs laying around. Then I have to get some clay and I need to make some new templates. I also want to test some new terra sig and raku colors. Lots to do before I even roll out a slab!


cookingwithgas said...

suffer vacation was all i could think when I saw your title for your blog.
There have been many times I wanted to "quit" clay and then next thing I know I am back there.
I too have had July's where I could not work and my mind suffered for the lack of doing.
It is a good thing to have a back up thing.
Parking lot- great idea- these storms have been scary stuff- here and gone so fast but leaving lot's of rain and damage.

Tracey Broome said...

Meredith, I have been thinking about the forced break you have had to take from clay and now look at you, fresher and stronger than ever. Breaks are good! But, yes my hands need a back up, they like to stay busy :)

Anna M. Branner said...

And having a back up that uses different muscles is good too. ;)

We've been having those storms here too. A couple weeks ago there was a derecho (I think that is how it is spelled) one wacky strong storm that was not a tornado but man it may as well of been.

Come on Fall.

Laura Farrow said...

sometimes clay feels like an old boyfriend you just can't let go of. you get annoyed, get some space, and then fall in love all over again... in spite of yourself. so, it's cool to have little affairs with fiber and paint, but keep your clay lover on the back burner. you know nobody does it better! xo

Kevin Carter said...

I've quit clay so many times, it's funny; one time, when things weren't going well at all on the wheel, I swore I was quitting for good. I started to clean up for "the last time" and about a half hour later I was planning some new pieces. I hadn't even finished cleaning up yet!
The last time I quit was for keeps, I haven't made anything in about a year.
I share a studio, and the other person has "different habits" for cleanliness and organization, shall I say? I finally got tired of spending an hour cleaning and organizing the studio to where I could start work, only to be angry and depressed after I finished cleaning. So I'm done.
I'm getting ready for the Olympics, by looking at the event schedule, and planning my DVR recording schedule. I'm starting with the road cycling on Saturday, cause I need more after the Tour!
By the way, the Olympic schedule is here:
Take a break with the Olympics, then come back and hit the clay hard, Tracey!

Tracey Broome said...

Anna, good point about the muscles!
Wow Laura what a great metaphor:)
Hey. Kevin, yes, looking forward to the Olympics, watched the opening soccer game for a while this morning. Great excuse for not going out in the heat! Too bad about your studio situation, I dealt with a community studio for more years than I care to think about, things got much better for me once I got a space to myself.

angela walford said...

no flying cows then!! great!! :P glad to hear it passed without panic or disaster

Tracey Broome said...

haha! No cows in the air, would have been a sight to see though, huh?! It was a crazy storm, I heard a lot of folks were without power until noon today. We were lucky.

Candace Thomas said...

Hi Tracey, If you want to play with fabric let me know.

Tracey Broome said...

Hey Candace! Fabric, yarn, clay, water color, metal.... it's all so tempting!!!! We still have to get together!!!

Lori Buff said...

Maybe it is just July and what it does to our minds/hearts. It's probably good to take a break from clay when you feel you need to and return when it feels right.

So glad you're feeling better.

Tracey Broome said...

Thanks a bunch Lori!! Definitely feeling better :)

Drucilla Pettibone said...

i'm having the exact opposite suffocation... i can barely bear to touch fiber!! some embroidery might work though in the meantime. i'm glad to know i'm not the only one and that this heat - and the storms (the other day was scary!) - are normal interruptions and not just my own laziness!

Tracey Broome said...

Hi Drucilla, maybe you could get some clay and make some beads:). How does anything get done in the South in the summertime! Now, embroidery, that would be fun, I used to embroider everything I owned back in high school.
These are some lazy days.....