A while back I posted about finishing my works in progress and I vowed not to start anything new until I completed them. Well I did not hold strictly to that due to my job and my Etsy shop, BUT I think I’ve done pretty well. I think this is a creative person problem. You know those e-cards that say things like, “short people problem” or “left-handed people problem.” Us creative people have a problem with works in progress. Our mind doesn’t slow its creative juices long enough for the limits of our physical bodies and the passage of real world time to keep up with.
I overheard a student discussing with a classmate her works in progress this week. She lamented over having so many and it being difficult to see them all through. The other girl shared her creative woes as well and at this point I jumped in. Another blogger that I previously mentioned (Mary from Crocheting the Day Away) wrote an entry about Works in Progress Wednesday. Every Wednesday she was going to work on an in progress project. This is a fantastic idea that definitely inspired me. I suggested the idea to my students and after a brief discussion, one of them vowed to dedicate some time every Friday evening to her works in progress. This Friday will be the first. I can’t wait to ask her Monday how it went!
Myself, I took advantage of a little vacation I had not too long ago and completed, yes completed, a work in progress.
LAST YEAR, at the end of the school year I prepared a few wheel thrown pieces and slab pieces to bring home to work on. I had an idea to create this tall, organic vase with several tiers and negative space. This piece was in part inspired by a project I assigned my students. I’m constantly trying to stretch their ideas outside the box; working beyond the traditional pot. I think what makes a great ceramic artist is being able to push their piece beyond the wheel. So many students think that once the piece is thrown technically well, that it is complete. To me, the wheel is a starting point. There is so much that can be done once your initial form is thrown. If you don’t work with the clay beyond that point, they so often end up looking all the same. So the assignment in question was to combine at least three wheel thrown pieces using their handbuilding skills, in a unique and of course creative way. I was not impressed with the results last year so I endeavored to make two new examples. This vase was one of them. However, the year swiftly ended and I hoped to work on these prepared pieces over the summer. It would be summer, of course I’d have time, right?
These pieces sat on my windowsill for most of the summer, into the fall, and well in to winter until my husband helped me set up a mini studio in our living room. That is a post for another day. So the pieces moved from sill to shelf and into the forefront of my mind. When vacation rolled around I took a day and got it done. Of course after months of being stowed away the pieces had all dried out. At first I just contemplated throwing the clay back in the slip bucket. I didn’t know if it would be worth my time. It would be so easy to just toss it as a well intentioned failed idea and get this unfinished business off my back. But. I decided to spread it out over my counter and see if the pieces could be salvaged.
After an hour or so of working with the spray bottle and wet paper towels I had a glimmer of hope and decided to go for it. I thought what the heck, I have nothing to lose, I was going to throw it out anyway. It was so freeing to approach a project in this fashion. I was so relaxed and enjoyed to the experimentation that went along with the assembly of this piece. I would almost say I was reckless. (gasp!)
Its definitely not perfect and not the best piece I’ve ever made, but I’m happy with it. It’s again sitting on my shelf but fully assembled. Its drying and awaiting its turn in the kiln. I have some great ideas for glazing it too! Mmm I can’t wait.
That is one project down. What’s amazing is that I was able to pump it out in one day. For that I have to give credit to my husband for watching the baby for most of the day. Thanks love! I always feel such a high when a project is done. How about you? Any works in progress waiting to be completed? Here’s to you all in hopes that you’ve been inspired and motivated. Go make something! …. and then tell me about it!