Saturday, September 11, 2010

Making things out of clay.


With the possible exception of middling photography, I am not what one would call an accomplished artist [1]. I would like to make my excuses by way of lack of time or more pressing matters. But the long and short of it is that I have a lack of artistic ability [2]. )

As with much of my art, this falls into the "simply should not BE" category.

I enjoy art, but for the most part, I'm not terribly good at it [3]. I know all artists feel caught between the perfection of the ideal, and the imperfection of the being [4], but I never make it out of the imperfection gate, in this realm.

Another early effort from class (see below), a large sturdy mug. Sized for a giant. Handle for a hobbit.

That being said, I did not expect much when I joined my wife and a friend in signing up for a ceramics/pottery class [5].

The class lasted 5 weeks, and turned out to be a really fun time. The instructors were really laid back and awesome, and had a great facility. As much as I am drawn to artsy people, I often feel a bit intimidated in relating to them [6]. But it was a nice mix of people, and a great atmosphere.

Works from my "blue" period. Getting a little better, resembling actual "art"

While I may not be a great artist [7], I still retain a deep seated desire for academic approval and competition, so the challenge was on. The previous images and the following are my work product. I wish I had spent more time chronicling the various steps, but this is only the finished work.

In order from top, alien-esque tea-light holder, Blue Vase, Thing that Should Not Be, Scalloped Bowl, Blue Spiral Pitcher, Bark Texture Mug, Blue Bowl, and lastly my "utter-failure-at-glazing-Candy dish" (it was supposed to be black and red).

Some turned out well, some were disappointing. I did end up with the tallest piece in the class. But for once, I actually managed to translate what was in my head into may hands with reasonable success.

Hurrah for small victories.

[1] It's been my experience that there seem to be three sorts of people drawn to the arts... the "real artist", for whom the production of their art is a central focus, the "aficionado", be they fan or critic, who consumes art but produces nothing, and the "tourist", who dabble here and there in controlled settings but never take up a particular medium. I am undoubtedly a reluctant mixture of the latter two of these types.

[2] This is sure to be a nominee for the "understatement of the year" award. Right alongside, "That Sarah Palin, she's a little off, isn't she?".

[3] I can't draw. I can't paint. I can't sculpt. My musical talent days are behind me. I'm adequate with a camera, but I'm no pro. I can see what I want to do in my head, but it's like the translation to my hands is well, a good deal off. Off, in the sense of it being akin to a brain damaged Siberian man-child trying to translate Swahili into cuneiform. Their will be an end product, but it's likely to go on at length about beets and be punctuated with gaseous emissions.

[4] I have no idea who said this originally. I'd like to say it's from my broad reading of literature, but I'm fairly sure I'm re-quoting it from a childhood comic book (Joel, I'm sure it was the Black Panther in Marvel Presents back in the late 80's).

[5] I know "taking a class" is the uber trendy thing to do in some sets, but I'm usually more of a do-it-yourselfer. However, this seemed like an opportunity for a risk-free foray into an art that was unlikely to result in explosions or major blood loss. Although, with proper disregard for safety and materials' natural states, you'd be surprised what art forms can unintentionally incorporate explosions....and screaming.

[6] I have had literal nightmares of being in the middle of a class, only to have the illumin-art-i turn on me, chanting "he's a left-brainer! burn the heretic".

[7] ..or a good artist...or an OK artist...or an artist who does not hear "For the love of all that is holy what is that abomination???" on a regular basis from people simultaneously clawing at their eyes...


Joel said...

If I were at the student art sale and saw your little red votive holder, I would buy it for under ten dollars.

I think you have the same problem with art that I do: it requires practice, a lot of practice. When I take a pottery class, though, and my stuff is not immediately beautiful, I feel frustrated and angry, especially when everyone around me is better. If you keep trying the pottery, I bet you can get to a point where you don't feel ashamed.

JMBower said...

I'm actually pretty happy with a couple of the pieces. So, all in all, I was ok with it:)

But you're right, it takes practice. Just in my short time there I went from that horrific french fry looking thing to making a couple bowls I really like.