Anne Pfeiffer on fri 13 jul 01
Teaching has taught me that sculpture or pottery is just a vehicle for our need to create at the time. We put what we want into it, and if it "speaks" to someone, they want it. It could have layers and layers of meaning and historical references, or just bring joy from being a small piece of functional beauty. Sometimes my brain seems exhausted and I just go with the flow, sometimes I have something well thought-out and planned. I have seen students turned on by every form. When we try to guess the creator's purpose based only our own purposes, we will get confused, and we shouldn't judge the creator based on our goals. Just accept the difference and allow yourself to be surprised. And, when you create, (as my mother always told me): "To thine ownself be true".
I do make sure my students are exposed to many forms of clay art from our culture and others and have a basic understanding of the artist's goals and then I know they are not working in a vacuum.
It is also just as confusing to try to figure out why people want what they do. At the end of the semester, I often have abandoned pieces that I throw out. I was just about to throw out an abandoned clay bust when another teacher came along and exclaimed that that was just what he was looking for for his garden–it could be peeking from behind some big leaves.