Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Fighting my muse, and my clay

I've been pretty unproductive for some time now. Straight after my show I was ill, and I was desperate to get creating again. But since I've been well enough I've been struggling to find the motivation. I didn't know if it was the heat, or just because I feel run down from being poorly, or what. But today I think I've finally figured out what my problem is...

My diary is telling me that I have 3 shows to prepare for. That means more vases, more woodland themed pieces, more Jane Austen... but as happy as I was with those pieces for my last show, I'm bored already. I've designed a couple more characters for the Jane Austen range, and I have plans to make new pieces, which should be interesting and challenging.... but I'm really itching to start making some larger pieces.

I watched a program on tv today about white lions and tigers. They're sooo beautiful! I want one! And it has always been my desire/plan to make one. And my Mum told me today that she would like a fancy bird bath for her garden, and immediately I feel inspired to try... but if I tackle these larger pieces now I won't have enough pieces ready in time for the shows.

So I have to make a decision. Do I continue fighting my muse and make pieces that will (hopefully) make me some much needed cash for this expensive hobby, or do I go with it and start on a bigger piece? I keep telling myself that if I just get on and fill the kiln ready for these shows, then afterwards I can make whatever I want. But if I continue fighting my muse will I just continue to do nothing?

It doesn't help that when I did try to make something recently it all just went horribly wrong. I tried to make a start on a couple of round vases, but coiling them was a nightmare! I was saying to myself "Umm... hello? You've coiled a swan and a polar bear, what's your problem?" and I actually think the problem is the clay. It just doesn't seem to have enough strength, even after I let it set a while, to support the pressure of me adding more coils to it.

I gave up at this point. I know they might not look sooo bad, but I was just fighting with the clay constantly and it wasn't enjoyable. Mind you, I have to ask myself, was I less willing to persevere because I didn't want to make them anyway? But when I think about it, I have mostly slab built with this earthenware clay. The only other thing I have coiled with it was that tall Marianne vase I sold, which was also a nightmare to coil. So I think I shall have to change my clay again.

I plan to go back to using stoneware eventually, but in the mean time I'll have to use some earthenware too because I have glazes to use up. Sigh. It would have been so much easier if that first tutor had just let me use my own glazes in the first place...


Kathy L said...

Hi Linda

I am crawling out from under my computer mess. Get the show out of the way first and then get to that bird bath. How are you...seems like forever that I have popped in!

Anonymous said...

Linda, would you do me a favor and look at the photo I just posted of some tile that disintegrated during bisque firing and let me know what you think might have happened.


Undaunted said...

Hi Kathy! Still no luck with the computer eh? I hope you get it sorted soon. Yes, it feels like ages!

Thanks for the advice. I'm really going to try to make a start this week.

Hi Scott. I took a look at your photo and I really have no idea. Really, I'm very inexperienced at firing anyway, so I'm probably not the best person to ask! Have you tried asking Judi?