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crank out mugs

updated fri 5 aug 05


mel jacobson on thu 4 aug 05

i really appreciated david woofs thoughts on..
`crankin out`.

one at a time is important.

when you find a nice design, form..something
that pleases you,
one important part of being a potter is the ability
to repeat that form. if you did it once, do it again.

that is the great thing about hump throwing...repeat work.
it allows you to design a mug, bowl..whatever...and then
work up a set of tools to repeat the design.

hump throwing is the slowest form of throwing there is.
it is, in fact, a two day process. it is precise however.
what you throw on monday, you turn on tuesday.
takes the same amount of time...throwing and turning.

i am a firm believer in disciplined work habits.
that is why `play` for the sake of play is not how one should
make pots.

you can design with a playful and creative.
but the task of making that design is disciplined.
if everything you make is an accident and, if that
is your be is your what you want.

remember, a great thrower can throw, tight, semi tight, or
really loose. it is speed of wheel, pressure of fingers, speed
of pulling the clay up. some folks like to think that loose throwing
is next to god. sorry. it is a skill. learned. `only really cool wood
firing potters can throw loose, wood looking pots.` of course
many of them look the that play? you can throw however
you decide...hand built, however you decide. it is not a virtue
to throw fast or slow, it is virtue to match the speed of your
work to you.

most potters that i know exhibit their personality in their work.
how could, under any circumstances, kurt wild be a loose potter?
it would be total fraud. should we ask david woof to tighten up?
not a chance. (why are so many teachers only concerned with
loose design...that is all we hear from mfa it is a
virtue.) we are what we are. can we ask connie christianson
to give a public and sing while she demos pots.
not a chance in hell. she is very shy. vince, make everything casual,
loose...never take your time...slap dash it. (you might as well
knock him back over that cliff.)

design is a double edge sword...some have natural design sense...some
must study and study. some have eyes that see, some never can
see what is before them. i often wonder if design is taught, or absorbed.
my experience leads me to believe that concept is taught, being able
to design quality things is natural.

is it possible to design pots with paper and pencil? i think you can.
can you make a plan, a blueprint of pots that are on your mind.
??? yes you can. draw them. measure them...then throw them or
hand build them.
that is how many of you pick up cm/claytimes/pmi and have
a brand new idea. start now. visual stimulation, then a plan, then
disciplined execution.

or, you can throw fifty different mugs. pick out one.
but, then you have 49 lesser pots sitting on your shelf.
what to do with them? throw them out?
tell your customers...these are all seconds. `the mug i am holding
is worth 80 bucks...all the others are worth $14.95.`

i prefer to work toward a standard design. one that pleases me,
fits my work habits, my sense of design. then make a bunch of
them...vary them just a bit...but keep the sense there, in place.
glaze surface, paint brush design, over layer glazes, multi colored have now added 50 different design elements to that
mug. firing style...phew the list is long. so, was the thing you liked
best...the form, the color, the surface, the painting? what? there are
so many variables. what one thinks is great color, makes someone
else barf.

so, it is so personal. so much who you are, what you believe, what
you want. it is so much based on self. your history, your background,
your gender or needs. they all play such an amazing part in what
you make...or want to make. each has a vision. stay with your

if you want to play all day...fine.
who cares? it is your day...your time.
what i care about is:
don't expect the world to take you seriously if you
do not yourself. don't tell the world you play all day...and
then get pissed when they don't `understand you`.

from mel/
for gail's year book.