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speaking up: entering the local fair with your best apple pie

updated sat 27 may 06


Tony Ferguson on fri 26 may 06


First of all, you are not a nothing. Being an artist is pretty much self defining as long as you make art and are committed on some level--whether its part, half, 1/8, full, work a holic over time, subsidized, sole income earner, whatever. For a variety of reasons which no one needs to defend, we all approach our work in different ways--and it is ok. I believe the work says it all. The proof is in the pudding.

Getting published is no different than entering the local fair with your best apple pie: the "tasting" committee tastes and depending on their pallet, some things taste good that season and others don't. It is purely subjective based on the background of the taster and what their buds have tasted in the past and their preference which they may or may not understand. People who sit on comittees who decide who is published or who isn't, well, they are just people. They are not gods.

Your artistic developement is not measured by how many magazines you get in or how many stories people right about you. It also has nothing to do with how much you sell or how much money you make. Your development, your technical, creative victories as you develop--well, nobody can measure or know those or appreciate your level of committment or enjoyment but you--it is personal and serious. All you can really do is your best and that is really effort.

I feel you will always feel relatively good or excited about your work if your committment is to yourself as an artist and the work first and if you are honest about whether or not you are stagnating or not challenging yourself with your work. It is important to find meaning in life which only really you can understand. As a group, we can somewhat understand because the creative process is a developmental process of realization along our individual and yet collective paths in this medium. We all can share in the very similiar understanding of what we learn as we create things with clay as the developmental process of creating is very similiar for us all as we learn about the materials, forming, how they work, firing, etc. I find creating much more meaningful than consuming. It provides a looking glass of self and realization that no juror or committee can understand. You are not a nothing. And besides, you can publish your own work on your own website as often as
you like!

Tony Ferguson

Gay Judson wrote:
I really enjoy Kelly's posts. She is a wonderfully talented writer.
I think her posts unite us Clayarters in a special way--making us a
community of participants at a deeper lever than just fellow potters.
BUT I have a bit of a problem with her article in Clay Times. I feel
like I have just been excluded from the club because I am "just a" who
is not looking for publications in the magazines, or for a show in a
great gallery. I got a late start (66) and don't have to support a
family on my work. I am even fortunate enough not to have to support
my "hobby" through my sales. But I am very serious. I am serious
about what it means to me about me each time I sit down to the wheel.
It means so much to me about me ever time I mix up a new glaze or open
the kiln. And I have a bit of a problem with being "just a" nothing
because I am not driven to make a world statement through my work at
the wheel. I hope I am not excluded from the conversation just

Gay Judson in San Antonio, TX

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Tony Ferguson
...where the sky meets the lake...
Duluth, Minnesota
Artist, Educator, Web Meister
(218) 727-6339
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