I'm back in the studio this morning and the clay is awaiting my touch, but I've decided to start this morning with research and reflection. I've found the long break from working with clay to be disruptive and stalling - I have become lethargic and unmotivated after three weeks of clean hands. Though I am anxious to produce work, I am unsure of what work to make and how to get started. Today my dilemma is "what is a cake stand, anyway?" - What purpose does it serve? Where will it exist in the world? Who will see it, who will touch it, who will wash it and view the underside before putting it away?
I'm sitting here listening to The Tallest Man on Earth's album Shallow Grave and mulling all these questions over in my little head. My first reaction to these questions is a yellow house, with sunflowers blooming in the front garden on a sunny June afternoon. The house wife of choice has just pulled a homemade cherry pie out of the oven, with fresh cherries from the tree in their backyard. She sets the cherry pie on a tall stand, rustic and elegant. The stand is equally intriguing and supportive. A piece of art and beauty in itself, it is the skeleton that focuses the consumer's attention to the dessert it bears. The stand is comfortable in the hands, easy to pick up and place down - it provides a pleasurable experience for the person who will turn it over and over when the pie is consumed. When the water and soap bubbles run over it, the surface will absorb the holder's attention entirely. Their fingers will run over the ridges and crevices, reading each rise and fall, the lines and patterns speaking of direction and atmosphere.
With any new project I find myself beginning with research and planning. I start each week with a general schedule to follow - goals for each day, and a firing schedule. I sketch ideas for new forms, spend hours on the Internet and listen to a lot of music while quietly laying on the couch and writing lists. The forms I plan almost never make it into my body of work, but I sketch and make lists as a tool to get my thoughts rolling. I am a neurotic and theoretical person - lists and research are my launchpads for creativity. My excitement to make something from these lists and research will take hold of me, and from excitement, motivation follows.
Getting my hands into clay will come next. But first, more research.
Here are a couple of the maps I found on Pinterest this weekend.
Here's to a productive Monday morning - I hope yours is swell.