Sunday, February 19, 2012

Comfort in Repetition

Greenware stacking up:
items on slab roller get "trimmed and handled" later this morning.

Tea bowls trimmed, chopped and drying for the next bisque fire later this week.

Kiln loaded to the brim.

Working out ideas with paper and pen trying to problem-solve technicalities. Back to the sketching again today with an updated plan. I think need a carpenter on board. No. I KNOW I need a carpenter on board!!!! Volunteers? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

"Most inner-oriented artists share a common characteristic, a certain quality of obsession."
(Kenneth Coutts-Smith)

Yesterday I began a deep-clean in the downstairs of the house. The floor hasn't looked so good in a long time, waxed and shiny. This kind of spur-of-the-moment, labor-intensive cleaning activity is pretty much ritual when my mind is overloaded and trying to work through ideas for a new project.

I am dragging my feet on a sculpture. This is not to say that it has not been on my mind most every waking moment, most every day, for the past few weeks. Even when I am potting or puttering around with other activities, this project looms in a distant room in my mind. I keep asking "how am I going to make this work?" The concept seems simple enough, the sketches are simple, too, but....there are the hidden technicalities that no one else sees or thinks of that need to be tended to.

I have a back-up plan. I should maybe just go with that. And I might. But, I am still toggling back and forth to find common ground between what is my most ideal scenario (which includes immense amounts of time, expensive resources, and no doubt a multitude of frustrating glitches) versus what would be completely acceptable, still get the idea across, and look great. I mean, no one else would lament the loss of the original idea if only seeing the second, right? No one but me, anyway.

So, even though hours have been spent in the intellectual realm, rather than the physical, lots has been accomplished. Yet, nothing has manifested in the form of the tangible. This is a bit disconcerting since I am working against a deadline. I am trying to remain calm. Traditionally, once I settle on a plan, the physical part of the project starts to roll at a good pace. This project, though, includes well over...well...I don't even want to speculate the number of hours. I know that once the building of it begins, I am in deep, and there is no such thing as "end of the work day". Somehow, things get accomplished, albeit leaving the artist a wee bit bedraggled, insane, and in need of vacation in some far-off exotic and remote location.

This project, like many other sculptures and tapestries that I have created the past few years, will include lots of repetition.

I have been thinking about this repetition. Maybe it comes, in part, from the pottery background. When the ware shelves are empty, I sometimes feel a bit tense, worried about what needs to be done. But when the greenware starts to roll off the wheel and stack up into patterns of bowls, cups, or (in the case of my sculptural work) grenades, I feel a sense of calm. I love seeing multiples line the shelves, tables, floors. I think I have before likened it to the squirrel who stores nuts for winter. There is a calm in knowing that there is some form of security. I guess for some people, they get that feeling with stocks and bonds.'s mounds of aesthetically formed clumps of gooey dirt. To each his own, I suppose.

In the past four weeks, I have created 212 of these formed clumps of gooey dirt called pots with a few handbuilt sculptural pieces tossed into that equation. The more I see stack-up, the more I more calm I feel, and the more I want to do. I guess artists (me anyway!) have just enough obsessive/compulsive behavior to keep the ideas and projects flowing.

Art is addictive. Crazy as that sounds, it is true. There are times I go without creating, but when that craving hits, and you get into that zone, it is hard to pull away from the temptations of the clay, fiber, or paint, or whichever alluring substance is sifting through your fingers at that moment.

Today, the clay is calling. The cave is warming up at this moment. I am trying to pace myself so that I can fit several activities into one day (rather than just ten hours of say, only mugs!!!). I will attach handles to 18 items and call it good, then jump back into sketching. I had a glimpse upon waking this morning, in mind's eye, a possible solution to the the sculpture issues, so after lunch, it's back to the drawing board for me, literally.

Lots of excitement is unfolding. Tune in next week....

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