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money, mugs and production

updated wed 3 aug 05


David Woof on tue 2 aug 05

Dori, learning to mix your own glazes is evidence of your commitment,
keep exploring and the fire alive and throw, throw, and throw some more.
there is no substitute for this training. however learn correct technique
first so you aren't rehearsing unproductive habits. ask what is this worth
to me?
is anything less than the best exceptable? do you have time to waste not
taking a class? by not taking a class are you struggling to reinvent the
a class with a reputed instructor is the best time and money one can invest.
by reputed, i don't necessesarily mean one with well known acclaim as clay
artist of the year, but a down to earth working clay person evidencing
strong ethics and conviction who has ability to transmit skills and
knowledge to others as evidenced by the success and growth of past students.
a perceptive instructor will observe you and work with you to develop
technical skills that complement your natural facilities and abilities.
even your temperment and personality come into play here.

perhaps you could look for opportunities to observe others throwing, at art
fair demos etc. ask questions.
I keep my future pottery classes list full in part by not only demonstrating
throwing but by working with interested ones on the wheel to demonstrate my
teaching. i know i'm giving away a freebie now and then, but it's all for
the ''beauty'' and i'm getting what i need. others have given generously to
me as well. Invariably there is always someone who really wants a class
but money is short, there are always studio tasks that need attention but i
would rather apply my time elsewhere so we work a trade.

About attitude: some folks say, "I can't afford this'' and accept this
statement as defeat while others say ''well now, how can i afford it?''
and from that question proceed to create a solution.

study the technicality of what makes a good pot, and after your hands, which
you have become concious of the functions of their many parts, have learned
this technical language, take thirty, one pound balls and throw them all in
thirty minutes. do this as a warm up each day for the next thirty days you
have in the studio. starting out, save three or four of those coming closest
to your goal. save to watch your progress and for glaze experiments. think
of this as tuition well spent.

and Dori stop saying ''crank out'', are you a machine? there is already
too much shlup cranked out.

too many art fair booths filled with cranked out pots with heavy bottoms,
bad form, no sensation of balance and with less than the professional
attention to finish detail. there is no excuse for this.
one can be wonderfully loose but never sloppy. who taught these people, or
weren't they paying attention?

I think this goes to an attitude re production vs as you say unique works.
in todays market patrons aren't seeking simply a servicable ''production''
vessel of utility. the world is cluttered with inexpensive containers.
work must reflect the zeal of it's maker. our attitude will show and if
production seems a necessary drudgery that's what will hit the shelves and
tables. see it even in the gallerys, one of a kind pieces sitting there
heavy in an air of despondence because someone had to come up with
something. where is the sense of inquiry, the fasination with the material,
an idea, a question?
''art'' pieces are production also when one makes them with money as the
first and ultimate pay value. love the process or get a different job if all
it is about is a job.

more and more often i hear people say ''it's harder and harder to find a
good mug'' this is really good for makers of good mugs. make love with
the clay, with life, with each other, at least once a day every day.

David Woof

peering over the edge, reverently taking an irreverent look at everything.