Sunday, September 15, 2013

Clay dictates form

The other night my girlfriend and I were talking about pottery.   She was remarking that some of the forms that I am making in my current work cycle are different/new, and that she liked them.  My response to her compliment was to open up a conversation about the characteristic of the clay itself: I am using a different clay body made from different deposits and it is changing and influencing the new forms about which she was speaking.  It took her off guard when I immediately began talking about particle sizes, moisture content, and flocculants instead of historical references and ideas about form and proportion.  Ideas about form, proportion, and function are always flowing through my mind.  However, it is the particular characteristics of each clay deposit and each clay body that truly dictate which forms are manifested on the wheel.   Realizing this takes some of the conceptual pressure off, I guess.  Makes me realize that concepts in art are only as good as the process and materials will allow.  Anyway, all of this has been written about a thousand times before.  I just want to make sure I get it down on the page in my own short words.


  1. I feel much the same way about music. I love the ways that different technologies guide me. When I discover some new computer sound or a different guitar tuning or a pedal setting, there's like a constant push and pull -- alternating tension and flow -- that defines my interaction with the "thing." And that process can produce something very unique that's ultimately less about me as a creator than it is about my relationship to the particular artifact. I guess a key difference between music and clay, however, is that in music there's no fear of sounds falling apart. You can dispense with any functional concerns from the start.

  2. Matt! I had no idea you commented on this, or even read it! Thank you for the great response!