For a while now, I have been struggling a bit with really letting my artistic “voice” shine through in my ceramic pieces. Before I got into clay, I was primarily interested in drawing, linocuts, and screenprinting. It was all about illustration and words for me. I was constantly thinking about how to merge words and pictures together.
The problem was, I didn’t have any particular stories to tell. I had lots of IDEAS and very vague CONCEPTS but I just…found it terribly hard to be inspired. Before I was a failed 2D artist, I was a failed writer, for the same reasons. I loved the act of writing but could never think of anything cohesive to write about. I think many people whose talents lean toward the arts have similar problems.
Making pottery was like a revelation for me. I felt like…oh, it’s so hard to describe. I felt like I didn’t have to come out and SAY things with ceramics, that I had the freedom to be as subtle and intuitive as I wanted. I realize now that this is equally possible with 2D art, but I still don’t find it as easy. I feel like the little fingerprints left in my pinchpots, the carefully burnished surfaces of my plates, are all telling their own little personal stories about me, but when people look at them, they’re just like, “that’s a pot, that’s a plate” and they either love them or leave them. Their mind either absorbs the tiny little tale they’re telling, or it doesn’t, but they’re not sitting around wondering what the plate MEANS. Which…may or may not allow that portion of my work to be considered “fine” art, but does feel terribly liberating to me.
At the same time, after taking a several-years-long break from illustrative work, I am now yearning to get back to it–or rather, to bring it back into my ceramic work. My now-husband Orin and I are both growing in our own artistic fields, and it’s great, because having someone to tell a story with has made all the difference in the world to me.
This is, I think, more and more where my work will be headed–telling stories, once again, through words and illustration, and blending that love with my other love of clay. Of the flexibility, and yet permanance, of the ceramic medium. I am finding more and more ways to do these things–through my poem pendants, through plates and bowls with paintings and sgraffito carvings and words stamped into them, and through the wall art I’m now developing. And it is awesome that I’m able to do this.