Monday, March 4, 2013

Dealing with my limitations

 Once again, thanks to all of you for your comments and suggestions over the weekend's firing fiasco. I think most of you are right in your evaluations of the firing and lessons learned. I may not have conveyed in my posts that I wasn't really that upset at the end of the day. I had prepared myself for this disaster, I may have even subconsciously sabotaged myself, who knows. It was a disappointment, truly,  to have spent a month in the cold making really pretty bowls and enjoying it, only to have them turn out so bad. But I said it didn't I? I have a roadblock when it comes to glazing. It's been like this for me since I first started making pottery. I cannot get a piece from leather hard to finished glaze to save my life. I can get work to survive a raku fire, I can get crazy built slabs to not warp and terra sig to not flake off, but I can't glaze a bowl and fire it!
And.... so.... I am accepting my limitations and getting on with it.

 Yesterday I spent the day ripping up my favorite denim Ralph Lauren sheets that my dog dug a hole in with his nails and ripping up some old jeans, and I started weaving. I used the tools that Hollis sent me, tools that his mother had used, and all was right with the world.
And I contemplated my limitations........
 (I missed two dents when I warped my loom, can you see where I missed them, ugh)

I brought dark clay into my studio, my all white studio, all the while knowing somewhere deep down that I did not want dark clay in my studio. I love the feel of the dark clay, love how it throws, love the silkiness of it. Do not love the stains and the red dust. I like white. For at least today, I have decided, no more dark clay.
I bought lots of chemicals to mix ^6 glazes, knowing somewhere deep down that I would not be successful with them. I have a kiln that was made for raku firing. It is a big kiln, but I have my limitations with patience in trying to figure out how to make it work for ^6. I think the odds of getting a good success rate are poor to none. So, for now, I am sticking with terra sig and raku until I get another mad burst of energy to try again, somewhere far in the future.....
Knowing and accepting one's realistic limitations can make life much easier.
I have limited kiln capabilities, accepted.
I have limited throwing skills, accepted.
I have limited patience with tedious work that I don't enjoy. I don't even like mixing glazes, so why put myself through all of this?
This got me to thinking about what it is I do enjoy, and why don't I just do that, instead of all this trial and error. I guess you gotta try on a bunch of stuff to see what fits, and I keep trying on, but I keep coming back to the same things.
I love raku
I love terra sig
I love mixed media

and now I am trying on things with weaving, I am learning what I like and don't like about that as well.
I tried linen, don't like weaving with it
tried store bought wool, don't like it
I love hemp
I love cotton
I love hand spun yarn
and now I think I have found my raku of the weaving world, rags!
I love rag weaving, it's random and spontaneous and who knows what the outcome will be. Plus I can reuse materials and so it's cost effective for me until I have more experience. And I can stick random things in and have a mixed media piece.
Also, I have my limitations with weaving right now. Like with clay, I am teaching myself and making lots of mistakes and learning from them. But the process needs to be enjoyable, why torture yourself?  I didn't enjoy glazing bowls, mixing the glazes and I sure as hell did NOT enjoy the outcome. But yesterday, I enjoyed ripping fabric and weaving it into a beautiful mat, so it's all good!


Lori Buff said...

I'm just now getting to see your posts about the over firing. I feel your pain and frustration and I'm so sorry for the troubles. It seems like ripping up the rags was rather soul cleansing and the weaving very peaceful. As artists we do have the tools to heal, as potters we usually always have something to break too.

Anna M. Branner said...

Two of my favorite weaving blogs: and are both big rug weavers. The first posts a lot, the second only occasionally. I just heard that a hotel donated their ENTIRE stock of old sheets to the local goodwill. Must run out there today and see if there are any left. A great opportunity to jump into dyeing! And rugs. Since I have yet to try that. :)

cookingwithgas said...

accepting what you can and can not do or control is a good thing as long as you continue to find new challenges along the way, which I think you will do.
Balance can be a tricky basta*rd.

Anonymous said...

it's good to know yourself, and to do an occassional stretch- reaffirming that you do know yourself! the denim weaving is great.

ang design said...

absolutely all good trace!!

Amy said...

I can relate; your post reminds me that as artists, I think we often want to try new things in our creations--- keeping things the same just doesn't work!

Avalanche Looms / Susan Johnson said...

Rags are great to weave, so much color,texture and design for the buck. Your denim looks good,too. Never mind the skipped dents, now they are a textural plaid. If you mix weaving with some things ceramic, it's a great combination.

Anonymous said...

so beautiful Tracey
love your wanderings
textiles are forgiving
and comforting...


Tracey Broome said...

Hi all you great people, thanks for the encouraging words!!!

Unknown said...

Well, it sure looks like no one loses in this equation!! You get to do what you enjoy, and we get to enjoy it too!!