Friday, April 20, 2012

In the Studio

Fiddlehead carved boat

My 'helper'- in this case a small plastic farm boy- who was helping me adjust the pot
you'd be suprised at how often this happens.

the pile of beckoning bright fabric

I'm a little picture light this week- but a bisque kiln produces no photos- and I spent the week carving some gravy boats. I also made a cake plate- which was about 60 percent what I wanted it to be, so I recycled it. I could have saved it- the old me would have cried over it a bit (not literally), but I would have spent some time trying to patch it or sand it or just generally make it work. Really it's much better to just scrap it- before you fire it.

I have learned that by working regularly- when I only make a few things a year- whatever they are, they get precious, and I try very hard to save it from it's proper end, but when you work regular hours, and therefore produce lots of work (or more than you are used to producing), it's much easier to let it go. I think that comes from my painting background a bit too, when I painting doesn't go right- we paint over it until it is right- we are in complete control of that medium. But Clay is different- it's a bit wild, it depends on how it dries, and what type of clay you used, and how you attached it, and once it cracks, warps, slumps and then dries- it's usually too late to fix it. That is the correct moment for quality control- not after you fire the darn thing and then decide it's not really good enough- because you see- before you fire the clay you can add it back to water and re use it, but after it's fired you just have to throw it away.

Anyhow- I began writing this because I wanted  to write about my studio hours, I have wanted to set up regular working hours for a while- and only in this past month have I actually been able to manage it. I now work from whenever I get up until lunch time, N keeps herself occupied with snacks and shows right next to me, occasionally 'helping' me, and I get some work done. And I'm surprised at just how much work you can get done, just by putting in actual part time hours, I figure I'm spending 20-25 hours a week on clay right now, and that's ridiculous to me because I 've spent most of the last two years on baby and toddler time, which is like being in a time vacuum. I know I'll have to go through that vacuum again when the next babe comes along- but I'm so happy to have discovered that a couple of years in I'll be able to actually produce work again. It's thrilling.

So I know I wanted to try seasonal studio time, but I think I'm going to keep it up through the summer, maybe cut back to quarter time, do an hour or two of studio work in the morning and then go out to the garden, If I can until the baby comes. Because the one thing that happens when you make work is that you realize how much more stuff you want to make, and how many more hours you need to make the things you want to try (on my list are cake plates, carved canisters, french onion soup bowls, shorter vases, platters, and dinner plates).

Anyhow- after carving three gravy boats this week- and with the Babe getting up earlier and earlier (damn that summer sun),  I was feeling a little clayed out- and I think I'll try to get some sewing done this next week (as well as some more mugs), a couple of cotton maternity shirts, and some jean patching, in some bright colours is just the remedy I think.

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