Monday, 23 March 2009

Tonight's Class

I haven't really updated you on my classes recently have I? As you know, two weeks ago Leanne came with me to my clay class and did a demonstration. Last week I continued with my coiled vase, which seems to be taking me forever! And tonight I glazed my Mum's mug, so hopefully that will be ready to give her next week. I was going to glaze Swanee tonight, but I'll explain more about that later.

Last week one of the students called Lesley was coiling a bowl ready to sgraffito, after being inspired by Leanne's demonstration the week before. I noticed some slabs of clay firming up, and wondered if someone was making a box... but tonight there were at least three people decorating them with sgraffito!

One girl made this lovely daisy, which unfortunately broke, but hopefully can be mended.

Here she is in action.

She was on a roll and made two more pieces!

Another student made this lovely piece. She had disappeared somewhere by the time I took this photo, and someone else told me she didn't like it, so I'm not sure if those markings in the middle were part of the original design or whether that was her way of putting a red cross through it, but I think it's beautiful anyway :)

Lesley said she finished her bowl at home, but here is one piece she worked on in class.

And she also carved this lovely piece, which I think is beautiful, but again she didn't like. What strange people eh?

I'd still like to try some sgraffito, but to be honest I'm not sure if I could even come up with a design. I don't think I'm very imaginative in that way. I'm not upset by that - we all have different artistic strengths and weaknesses - and I greatly admire those who are imaginative in that way. Talking of those who are imaginative - Leanne's demonstration piece went in the kiln tonight, which I forgot to photograph again!

Ok, so the thing about the swan. I was going to glaze it tonight, but I was daunted, not undaunted as I should be. I was nervous about glazing the beak because it would have to be painted on so precisely, and I was worried about ruining the piece with glaze after all my hard work. Another student suggested just glazing the whole thing white, for a kind of modern "stylized" look. We were discussing this with the tutor, but he said the design of the piece wasn't stylized. On the other hand he said I wouldn't be able to make it look realistic with glazes either. I didn't really understand what he was trying to say, but it upset me. I felt like he was saying it needed to be either stylized or realistic but it couldn't be either, and all I kept thinking was "Why can't it just be mine? My style? What's wrong with that?" I asked him to clarify his point, but I don't even remember what he said because he was still being so vague.

I probably sound like I can't take criticism, don't I? But I don't think that's the case - just the other week one of Scott's friends looked at my polar bear and said the nose and ears were wrong, and he was right, so I changed them. But tonight my tutor made me feel like whatever I did it would be wrong, although I'm sure he didn't mean it that way because he seems like such a nice person, and previously he said that Swanee was gorgeous. So I don't know, I'm just confused. What is it with male potters?


Kathy L said...

Well now you have me wondering about some things...Is this type of art one that must follow a convention? Or should I say is usually taught with convention with no room for going off the track... Mixed media and collage are types of art with no rules right..maybe the "rules" are something that are encouraged in pottery rather than free thinking... I dunno. This tutor does not seem to foster that creative spirit or maybe he just can't relate to people taking his class. But whatever it is...I love your pieces and I love that you are trying to pour yourself into them. You are paying for the classes...I think you should go for it :) Now I am not fostering dowright anarchy but certainly your tutor should understand your artistic background before he puts the shackles on.

JafaBrit's Art said...

I think perhaps when one is an experienced painter or potter they can what the results might be, whereas for inexperienced it is an unknown. some of the best lessons come from not knowing but it is the teachers job to guide you. I think it must be hard to find that balance for teachers and students. Hang in there and just do what YOU need to do.
I love the sgraffito by the way, very cool.

Undaunted said...

Hmm... my artistic background - maybe that's why I get so upset by these comments?

As far as I am aware, this particular tutor does encourage free thinking (unlike the last one). Just the other week he asked several students how they would create a faceted piece, and of course each one had a different solution - his point being that we all would tackle the challenge in a different way, but we were all right. So I don't know, maybe I was just completely missing the point, if he had one.

Thank you Kathy. I'm going to carry on doing my thing, and try to muster up the courage to glaze that beak!

Jafabrit, I think you're right. Maybe he was just making sure that I wasn't going to be disappointed? He was going on about not being able to produce a feathered effect with the glazes and I was thinking "I know that, so what's your point?", but thinking about it now, maybe he was just trying to make sure that I knew that? It seemed so obvious to me, I didn't think that that in itself was the point he was trying to make. Phew, don't I get my knickers in a twist?! Thank you Jafabrit! *Carry on taking the pills Linda!*

Isn't the sgraffito great? I think it's wonderful that Leanne's visit inspired so many of the students.