Looking back at this, well, love affair, I am reminded of the words to the song Ghost of a Chance by Rush talking about all the twists and turns in life that lead us to where we are today. During my time with pottery I have learned how to manipulate clay on the wheel and using slabs, as well as the many other aspects of pottery including glaze development and kiln firing. I've even made the jump from doing purely functional work to emphasizing non-functional sculptural pieces in my work, but I've always worked with moist, but solid, clay that comes in a bag and can be squished and manipulated into many forms.
Now that relationship with clay is starting to change drastically. Last summer I took a mold making and slip casting course from a wonderful designer/artist and it really gave me the courage to start exploring this way of working with clay and to use it to make the forms that I really want to make, not the ones that are dictated by the limitations of round forms made on the wheel and flat slabs rolled out on the slab roller.
Just like when I started making non-functional work and I had to work through the mental block of making something that wasn't useful, I think this change will require me to reevaluate how I view my creations and my relationship to them. At the same time, this really is the best way to make those forms that I see in my mind come to fruition. It is interesting, though, how we speak of people who work with solid clay as potters, but we tend to refer to those who work with slip and molds as being designers. Potters are allowed to have some variation from piece to piece (we really embrace that uniqueness in each piece) while designers are expected to have pieces that vary little from one piece to another. I don't know that the work of either type of artist is more perfect than the other's, it's just a different type of perfection.
I have been asked to come and use the studio of a very accomplished mold maker here in Denver and, of course, I have said yes. I feel so honored to have been choosen by this gentleman and I welcome the opportunity to have him as a mentor. I'm not quite sure what made him choose me to work with, but I plan to make the most of the opportunity that I possibly can. Maybe this will finally be the breakthrough that I have been trying for.
Well, off to do some sketches!