Saturday, 9 February 2013

Saturday 9th

Life is strange. Seven weeks today I'll be attending the private view in Tokyo of my exhibition with Tamba potter, Motoyasu Hirayama. Right at the moment, the prospect is absolutely terrifying and I spend most of my time fretting and thinking it's completely impossible. There are moments in the day when I get a brief burst of self belief that enables me to keep going. I need a hundred pots. That may not seem like a lot, but I don't want to send a single bad piece, so I'll have to make and fire many more to provide a good body of work to select from.

I've been making bowls today, which in itself provides a challenge. Bowls and dishes, flat stuff with lots of inside area that needs decorating - eek. If only I could send just jugs, I'd be able to do this so much easier. It's a good thing I suppose, I've been talking about making a whole kiln load of bowls and dishes for ages, but always end up making jugs and more jugs, so this is stretching me and once I have a body of work made, I'll know enough about it, to fulfill what has until now been a shortfall in my range of production.

I don't often turn foot rings on pots, as the pots that I admire most, the ones made in the old English country potteries, didn't have foot rings. I've done a few on these dishes., but I don't want to get in to too much of that, so I'm going to try and design my range in a much more 'English' manner.

Another bowl and more, smaller, shallow dishes.
This sight will send a good few people crazy. This is the way I like my wheel. I want to be in there, in the mud, none of that clean plastic, yuck, gimme the mud every time, all the time, yeah yeah yeah.
I've been playing around a bit today with working in to the clay when wet. These notches will make a bit more sense when the slip is over them. After all that time spent recently, sticking little bits of clay on to my pots, this body of work is going to be decorated by contrast, in a much sloppier, slippier and spontaneous manner. No doubt  I'll end up with some dodgy pots, as it's impossible to get the slip or the marks in the right place every time, so there's a lot of getting it wrong before getting it right, but hopefully there will be enough good ones to select from by the time I've done them all - and there will probably be a good seconds sale too at some stage in the future.
Notches.

I'm still making pots for the UK market as well as the pieces for Japan. I have to try to keep money coming in. There's a huge amount of outlay required for the Japan show, goodness knows what it'll cost to send. This is a 7lb jug which will be getting the dribbly slip treatment tomorrow. It's too big to send, so will go to a gallery back home if it comes out well. I also want to make some more work for saleroom on my website .
I keep getting myself in a right old stress with all this, but in the few moments of the day when I can see sense, I can recognize that I have pots at every stage of production and that means that I must have a busy and creative workshop. However, in the main, I see empty shelves and a huge task ahead. I need to keep the pressure on and keep my head engaged even though it wants to stray off into la la land all the time.

Tomorrow I'll be starting work at 7.30 am. Marky Mark's coming to join me and we'll put in a good day's graft and I'll try and get some of these pots finished and decorated.


Happy weekend all.

15 comments:

gz said...

Enjoy seeing the Japanese earthenware slipware when you get there.

Good to make "too many" pots, you'll have a head start on stock when you return!

Dan Finnegan said...

What a blessing to have such a big task ahead of you, Doug. Most folks don't have that gift, to strive to be your best working with a material that you love. Just do it (as Nike says!).

Armelle Léon Bitterolf said...

Dishes are good to bring food. In asian food, you need many of them to eat, because people want to have many plates on the table, to chose what they want to eat.
I like this way of eating, you have just a plate for your owne, and you have to take some food in the dishes. Just a little, If you don't and takes a lot, your are feeling as you have no education. It's so,and it's delicious, in thailand. Don't know about japanese food, well, I enjoy sashimi, sushi and so on. :-)

Dennis Allen said...

Doug, that wheel looks pretty clean to me and it's not even Christmas. Just prep and weigh out a hundred pounds of clay, take a deep breath, stop thinking, and start throwing. The right side of your brain knows what to do. I'm sure you will have a great time in Japan.

Clay Affair said...

I would love to see your works in Japan. Do let me know where and when. Maybe able to come for a weekend trip. There is always hope. Fingers crossed. Sending you energy and inspiration.

Anonymous said...

Those finished pots look fantatic Doug, don't know what you're worrying about. My only worry is that you'll soon be out of reach of ordinary people like us.....

Dave

Alf said...

Go with it Doug - all will be well. As the ol' geezer Cardew said, 'if the pots are given life by the maker they will be able to impart life - that is, pleasure - to the people who use them'.

Anonymous said...

The finished mug behind the tea bowl looks like it should go open the uk website...

Laura said...

If you get a chance to be online - check out this TED talk at:
http://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.html

It sounds like you are already there, allowing or letting some of your little genius to take on the burden of the task - and you are doing the work of showing up for your job! Ole!

Susan said...

It's all looking great Doug.

Keep going.

handmadelives said...

Doug you are on your way How do I know? Because of the notches. That is your creative brain creeping in like a thief while you chew away at all your anxieties and working in secret.Your hands know better than your head.

I think its worth a film crew following you in Japan. Mr Bean would look like an elder statesman by comparison. Fortunately you will always be rescued by the kindness of strangers.

The Japanese will be entranced.

Ron said...

Looking good Doug. Keep at it. No need to make pots w. feet if that's not you. I quite like bowls with flat bottoms.

Hollis Engley said...

Wish we could get to that Japan show, Doug. You will absolutely sell out. Those Japanese clay people won't be able to talk about anything but that red dirt you throw.

Anonymous said...

I thought you were going with them,that would be fantastic.Love the bowls,if you need a break after all this,you would be more than welcome.

Tim

Jon Fairbairn said...

I love those notches Doug and the shapes are full and wholesome, great stuff. I imagine keeping a blog can be hard work to keep up but it is very warming to all of us who strive to make our work in our sheds.