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conceptualizing and doing -- was "new topic"

updated sun 24 mar 02


Sharon Villines on sat 23 mar 02

> I am full of ideas. My
> head is bursting with them. I can easily spend days imagining the
> finished piece. However I totally lack the skills to interpret mental
> picture into clay. I have read a lot about techniques, I take workshops,
> I understand what has to be done, but hands and mind refuse to work in
> concert. I always hope that the next one will be perfect, but I have so
> many next ones, that I don even like to go into the studio anymore.

One of the most discouraging things about being an artist is that what we
see so clearly in our visions is almost impossible to manifest with our
materials. All artists struggle with this -- writers, painters, musicians.

Our visions (brainwork) are more easily formed than raw data (physical

This is particularly true of clay because what we are working with is not
the final form. We have to work through various stages, then wait until it
comes out of the kiln to see if worked. We can't go back and change the
shape of a pot the way a painter can correct a painting or a writer rewrite.

The potter can only make decisions and follow a process based on prior
experience and measurements -- but human experience is never exactly
repeated. Loving the process anyway is the most important thing an artist
can learn. When we can give ourselves to that process, we become a potter
(or a printmaker or a musician).

If we don't love the process, even when our work is not yet what we want it
to be, we may be working in the wrong medium. We can love music but that
does not mean we enjoy practicing enough to become musicians.

Sharon Villines, Arts Coach