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A wise ceramics teacher once told me that it’s good practice to conceptualize a ceramic piece as a finished product before sitting down at the wheel (or starting to build). In other words, know not only the shape and size you want to make, but also have in mind any surface alteration and the glazing you want to do, and this will yield a better result than the alternative. Unfortunately for me, I most often lack the discipline to put this good practice into practice. More often than not, I sit down at the wheel with a lump of clay and ask it what it wants to be. Sometimes it doesn’t know and sometimes it doesn’t share it with me, but sometimes it yields a lovely result. I stare at my vast array of glazes, looking for a sign, and they usually just stare back at me.

 

 

Fortunately, another wise teacher told me that in her experience the best practice for a ceramic artist is to continue to create work. Don’t feel inspired? Create work

 

anyway. Feel frustrated with the work you’ve made lately? Create work anyway. Although a potter can be inspired by anything and everything…and I would guess that most potters have notebooks and binders full of random snippets of ideas…there will be times when you either just don’t feel like it or feel you don’t have enough time to do it well, or are unhappy with your results of late. Creating work is the thing. Practice makes perfect. Just do it. Use any┬ácorny or tired mantra to motivate yourself and keep at it.

So I create work and more work, some that turn out well and some not so much, trying to gain a little discipline to conceptualize and plan along the way. Of course, having a husband who enjoys experimenting with glaze combinations lets me off the hook when I don’t know how a piece should end up. Creating work is the thing. Sometimes it’s pure fun and sometimes it feels like a chore. Creating work is the thing.

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