mel jacobson on sun 25 feb 01
one of the concepts that helped me a great deal as a teacher of
high school age kids, was to realize that you cannot change the
personality of kids. you can help them, guide them, but change.
i do not think so. same with adults.
if you have kids that are careful, fussy, perfectionists, well how
do you make them loose, and do you want to? if you have a kid
that is all over the room, loose as can be, how do you tighten
them up....? you don't.
you just help them in their work, and encourage them to be what
they are. ( i often tell fussy people to be more fussy.)
i see this all the time on clayart. `hey you people, be more careful
and measure in a perfect way.` next one, `hell i use an old coffee
can to measure glazes...never use a scale. get great pots.`
when i confront perfectionism, i just try to get the folks that do
it, to make their work enjoyable. not punishment. the
process of doing really careful work, perfect, should be joyful. often of
course, they punish themselves for any tiny imperfection.
same with loose, free, often sloppy work....it does not mean you are
better than, or have a higher value. it is just the way you work, it is the
way you are. probably cannot be changed.
i think, far to often, that people of authority want others to work
the way they work. they press people out of their personality style
to create work that looks like the authority. i really hate that. one
should be able to learn from seeing a variety of styles, perhaps work
for short periods of time in different ways, but to change who you are
is wrong. far to many have left the arts because of this style of
teaching. there are thousands of ways to reach the goal of art. you
have to find it within yourself. if you hate jazz, well you should not
have to play it for the rest of your life.
it is the reasons i love to read the editorials in `ceramics monthly`.
`i hate all this modern shit.`, or, ` tell us how to do it`., or `i need
more realism`. it is what makes the magazine the leader. ruth and
her staff look at the big picture, they show the world what is going
on. if we only got one style, hell, we would never get to get angry
and say `damn, if i could not make better work than that, i would
quit.`. artists and crafts people need to react to what is going on
all over the world. only the weak and stagnant artist will copy the
work they see, and feel that they have to be in on the `trend`.
it would be like me saying. `hey, i had better make pots of boats.
or houses, or, hey, look at that jazzy copper matt raku, one hundred
colors, i could clean up.` or, `i have to make metaphors of body
parts, wow, wow.` i look, i see, i do my stuff. if my work changes
it will take years, not weeks. looking at magazines, going to shows
and galleries is an opportunity to see others styles and work, it is
not the place for you to copy.
if you are looking for a new `french butter dish`, or a cone 6 glaze
that will really sell, i think you had better take stock of what you are
doing. research, new styles, new methods are important, but you
cannot change who you are. stick with that person, it is the best
person you know.
Minnetonka, Minnesota, U.S.A.
web site: http://www.pclink.com/melpots
africaunusual@MWEB.CO.ZA on mon 26 feb 01
I have heard you say many wise things but THIS one? Every living
sentient being should have a printed copy to carry around with
them, just to remind them that their way of doing things is not
God's gift to human kind and neither are they
Prolly wouldn't change that mind set of theirs though, damn what a
pity. Sitting here realizing that my dislike of that particular kind of
person is not going to change either and that brings us right back
to your post doesn't it? Still think those thoughts of yours have
great merit and true wisdom shining through.........maybe that
printed copy, printed in magical ink, could make the holders more
tolerant and errrr.....tolerable(?)
Toni, Durban South Africa, Febuary is nearly over and just maybe
there is life after heat and humidity
Ann Hunter on mon 26 feb 01
>Mel said: i think, far to often, that people of authority want others to work
>the way they work. they press people out of their personality style
to create work that looks like the authority. i really hate that. ...
> research, new styles, new methods are important, but you
>cannot change who you are. stick with that person, it is the best
>person you know.
I really appreciated this post. Art making is forever interesting
in part because through it one continues to learn about oneself.
One of the things I have learned is that I have an allergy to people
who are overly authoritarian. Being around them too long produces
such symptoms as headache, clinching of teeth and/or hands, high
blood pressure, and even itching of hands and feet. I try to avoid
such people after a short exposure.
Fortunately, most clay people are open to new ideas and experience
and generous about sharing without demanding that we follow like
It is good to learn the difference between authoritative
(knowledgeable from past education, experience, research, etc.) and
authoritarian (seeing oneself as the fount of all truth). Clayart
includes a wonderful group of people who are authorities on various
areas of expertise and who are so kind as to share their wisdom and
knowledge. Thanks so to Mel and others for that generosity..
Wichita Falls, Texas
First daffodils are blooming. I was delighted today to find that the
little Japanese maple I planted last year did not die in the drought
as I feared.