I really admire Syson's willingness to research and learn in an attempt to understand what it is that is so special about these pieces. So often it is easier for us to brush aside something we don't like, be it polka music or pate*, as something worthless without taking the time to understand their importance to the people who made them. This is a lesson that I have really been working on learning this last year or so. One of the great things about my graduate ceramics class is that we have twelve people working in very different mediums, each making their own artwork. This fact has made me learn to appreciate works of art that I might have been tempted to brush aside because they did not conform to my personal aesthetic. I also feel that this is a skill that I really need to cultivate both as an artist and as an educator. Even though someones artwork may not be something that I would have considered creating myself, the fact that this person took the time to make this work means that it has value to its maker and how can I discover and appreciate that importance?
In other news, I've been busy working on another commission these last few weeks. It's been nice having this project to work on during the Christmas break when I'm not so busy working and taking kids to school. The time in the studio has been nice and I'm excited to see how things turn out.
Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2016!
* Just a few weeks after I arrived in France as a teenager as a year long foreign exchange student, I was invited to my host mother's uncle's home (said uncle also happened to be the mayor of the small town where I was living) for Sunday lunch. This elaborate, four hour long meal began with an appetizer of pate maison made by the mayor's wife. I remember him coming by asking me if I would like some of his wife's pate. I took one look at it, decided it looked too much like meatloaf and I wasn't going to even try it. He convinced me that I had to try it so I told him I would try "un petit peu" (just a little). He then proceeded to cut off a big slice for me and assured me that I would love it. I think I ate a bite or two and confirmed that no, I did not like it. During the next eleven months while I lived in France I learned how culturally significant pate was to the French (like mom's apple pie!) and what an incredible faux pas I had made by not eating it...all of it! To this day, I still do not like pate, but, when necessary, I will eat it for diplomatic reasons.