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stuck artist

updated fri 20 jul 01


mel jacobson on tue 17 jul 01

this is a general big philosophy of life.

when you get stuck, in most cases, the way out is to focus.

one way to focus is to make things very simply. take out the
complex elements of your work. get rid of the artsy thinking.

one suggestion that works for many, is use one clay body.
two glazes. just black and white. electric fire. cone 6.
use ron roy's black, cone 6 and his white base. make 100
bowls from 2lbs of clay each all the same. 100 plates from 2lbs each.
glaze them in all the combinations of black and white you can
find. 200 will barely make it.
don't do anything else...make the entire 200, work out all the
combinations. don't skip any. do the entire exercise. and then
do it all over again with 200 more pots of any two shapes.

go into deep concentration. just think about the two hundred
pots...make them clean...simple. think of the many combinations
of glazing. clean, clear design.
then look at them all. see what you have done and how
you accomplished the project.
you will be brand new when you get done.
this is a wonderful lesson for anyone to do.
old, new, professional, amateur. then think, hmmm, how
would hamada do this lesson?

why wouldn't a college professor assign this to an mfa
candidate? get them thinking...think of the possibilities.
but, no...many just say...`go do something, i will be here
on tuesdays.` an assignment, what a concept.
Minnetonka, Minnesota, U.S.A.
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Marie Gibbons on tue 17 jul 01

something I started doing years ago when i taught fashion design and
marketing was gathering images, ideas, sketches, etc. of things that inspired
creative thoughts, things that i liked..... some call it a mourge file,
others call it a source file... mine is filled with images of art.....
interiors.... textiles.... color combinations, nature, texture, anything that
i looked at and it caused a reaction .... gave me inspiration. I have had my
book going now for over 10 years, and i still enjoy just thumbing thru the
hundreds of pages, looking at things... some that have been from the begining
still apeal to me.. but now in different ways...

I use a large binder, with sheet protectors so i can rip from magazines,
(oooo did i hear some of you shudder, yes i rip up my magazines!) slip in
drawings, swatches of fabrics, photos, poems, lists of words, whatever it is
that brings my mind a story for a piece.

When i get in a slump... or a creative block i will just sit and look and
look and look, and sooner or later something wonderful happens!

hope this helps,

Jeremy McLeod on tue 17 jul 01

Marie Gibbons wrote:

> some call it a mourge file,
> others call it a source file...

I call it "eye candy". The studio in which I work has a somewhat random collection
of back issues of Ceramic Monthly and several other magazines. A cup of coffee
and a meander through a few issues is an exercise I treasure. Often I'll look through
magazines I know I've looked at before, often recently, knowing that something
different will catch my eye. Sometimes the inspiration is for that day, sometimes
things just get filed away in the primaeval ooze of my imagination for further

Eye candy isn't limited to print media, of course. It's often stuff I see on retail
or in art/craft shows. It's something on the hoof in nature. It's whatever catches
my eye and makes a connection with the impulse to play in the mud.


Fabienne Micheline Cassman on tue 17 jul 01


Being a baby at all this, I hit my first slump last winter. I figured I
needed fresh blood that wouldn't be afraid to tell me how things really
stand. So I took a graduate ceramics class as a student-at-large; it was
an hour away and very inconvenient time-wise, but the experience was
absolutely a great one I would repeat again. The critiques were done with
tact which was a bonus :)

One of the things I got out of it is to keep a book filled with work I like
and look at it on a regular basis as well as add to it when I can since
taste changes. I review them to see if indeed there is a change and try to
implement the common concepts to what I make. That alone keeps me going
for now.


Milky Way Ceramics

Yes, I have learned from my mistakes...
I can reproduce them exactly.

Lee Love on wed 18 jul 01

Hi Mel,

Today, for the first time in a year and 5 months, the Forman said all my
yunomi were good. This is after throwing thousands of yunomi. Usually, even if
he passes all the yunomi, he usually finds something that needs to be tweaked.
I've come back to yunomi after doing my quota of my other forms. Everyone
seems to have trouble with this yunomi form if they leave it for a while. It
is a shape that originally came from Okinawa.

When I get to making my own work again, I'll never be so exact as I am
required to be with these "deshi" yunomi, but I'll probably always have one
form that I will practice with this precision. I kind of see it like a
musician doing scales.


Lee Love
Mashiko JAPAN
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iandol on thu 19 jul 01

Mel suggested

Bought a new torch yesterday. Not the first one which was offered to me =
for a modest $369.95 but your K-Mart Eveready for $13:95, including =
batteries. Instructions said that it will focus. It really did. =
Illuminated the Grain Silos at a couple of hundred yards. Bright grey =
against a background of Stars.

I think you have to get to the "Point" and see what might be in the =