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the "i" workshop

updated sun 16 oct 05


primalmommy on sat 15 oct 05

John Boyd wrote:
> The "I" talking seems to
>have it's fair share all around and for damn good
>reasons. Many people want that kind of information
>(especially those just getting started). It's the
>view of a different way to work, or it's the story of
>a path that one might take in learning how to create.

John, I agree. While I don't especially want to sit through somebody's
resume, or look at pictures of the 62 stages of their pots, from dorky
beginner work to current work, I DO care who the potter is.

Isn't that the point of buying something made by a person, instead of a
factory? Aren't we buying the individual expression, that warbled rim
that feels good on your lip, the romance of the potter making by hand?

I used to think it was a cliche -- you are your pots, your pots are you.
It has spawned a million clayart jokes -- "I must be a heavy-bottomed
monstrosity, then"...

But as you master the craft, your own expression comes through.

Everybody's third year piano recital sounds the same -- but those who
master the instrument, who perfect the muscle memory and train the ear,
can play from their souls -- compose -- express themselves in such a way
that listeners can recognize them by their own unique expression.

Everybody writes badly the same way. I taught freshman composition for
years, and a beginer essay has all the earmarks of the beginner pot -
the outside shaped differently than the inside, the beginners bump at
the edge of the floor, the heaviness, the thick and thin spots and
indecisiveness of line.

But oh -- when they master the skills involved, when they learn to avoid
the logiacl fallacy and comma splice and cliche -- a good writer writes
who he/she is, and writes like no other.

Brad Schweiger said it -- "you art is about your life". I want to see
the potter's kiln, studio, hear the stories, see Tony's view of
grapevines and Julia's view of urban Rochester. It matters where we came
from, and what we do when we are not potting.

This is not the same as sitting through somebody's self-aggrandizing
blabla. I have never bought a pot because a potter had this degree or
that award.

I am a sucker for a good story, though. A little humility, an insight
into the human part of the journey - the idiosyncracies that live in
your cupboard with the cup, the studio tips you hear in your head as you
work a year later.

And those come from academics and studio potters alike.

Me, I am headed for the studio. Edouard's intolerant, flag-waving,
love-it-or-leave it post has cured me of the notion that our Northern
neighbors are more enlightened than some of my own countrymen, and it
left a bad taste in my mouth. Time to walk away from this machine and go
make some pots.

Kelly in Ohio
(where I have Muslim and Hispanic and Jewish neighbors whose ancestors
beat mine through Ellis Island, and are as Americans as the rest... and
where the only Natives have not fared well at the hands of
ethnocentrism, blind patriotism and religious intolerance.)

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