Intentional Creativity

Yesterday, this article appeared in the New York Times  about why ceramics are white hot right now.  It gave me a moment to stop and think about my own creative journey with ceramics and what I want to do.  I have been, for the last ten weeks or so, deep in the planning stages of officially launching a ceramic art business.  I have made ceramics for over 20 years.  Many of my guests from our B&B days have pieces of mine in their homes, and this has always brought me a great deal of satisfaction.  But I have had so many fits and starts with ceramics, and have never really given it a fair chance as a business, where I launch my own creative ideas in a way that is clear, makes a design statement, and moves me forward as an artist.  

The reasons are many.  But the most significant is that ceramics is a profession of phases and rituals.  It requires a great deal of focus and repetive work.  Losses are huge - a piece can break in the kiln, effecting all the pieces around it, you can make a calculation mistake when mixing a glaze, and the smallest impurity can smudge an otherwise flawless piece.  Yet, I perservere, because I love it, and I have always wanted to make a go of it.  Since ceramics are white hot, there may not be a better chance  than today. 

So I am in the process of starting a few lines.  I've had two full kilns of tests over the last three weeks, and now can see which directions I can go. It's been a matter of which clay bodies, which forms and which glazes to use. It's really the first time since I have done ceramics that I've taken an organized approach to creating with intention.  I have learned so much from so many.  There are such excellent potters out there, and it's made me want to raise my game on every aspect of production. 

 Stoneware pasta bowls

Stoneware pasta bowls

I've committed to cleaning up and renovating a second work space in our barn, and am planning on starting to give pottery classes in the fall!  I have the space and I'm pretty sure with pottery's popularity right now, there will be sufficient demand.  I even have the idea in the back of my mind to do a pottery workshop - one where a couple of people can travel and visit me here in our village in the Black Forest for a pottery intensive with writing, hiking, food and wine thrown in...

 Tea cups and egg cups 

Tea cups and egg cups 

After I've finalized my design ideas into a clear vision, I will be attending a couple of local art fairs this summer and launching my online business - for the last time.  I've had too many stops and starts in the past, and only want to launch when my offering is where I want to be, but you can get some ideas from these photos of the direction I'm moving. 

 Stoneware bowl

Stoneware bowl

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Ceramics are a creative journey.  The pieces here are functional tableware, which is where I focus almost all of my time.  However, I'm adding wall art to the mix as I have always been intrigued in the mixing of ceramics with painting.  I've got several designs worked out on paper and I only now have to dedicate some studio time to new prototypes to make this vision a reality. 

Oh, and I'm knee deep in writing a book... but more on that later.   

So as I settle down into all of this, I am getting very excited thinking of a spring full of gardening, ceramics and art.