Tuesday, November 17, 2009
This morning, we had a meeting to discuss the deadlines between now and December 5, the day of the opening of the show of our work here in Vallauris. Somehow seeing the requirements meted out in squares with dates attached made them real and immediate. Ceramists have to allow for firings, typically two separate ones for each piece. These can take hours or days, depending on the type of firing, and can’t be hedged. These firings create different limits than weavers or painters or furniture-makers have to practice. And since three of the four of us are ceramists, the schedule is set up to accommodate those firings. I’m pretty much on my own rhythm.
The most sobering deadline for me is Monday, November 23 when one or two pieces should be finished for photography. No more skipping about from one piece to another, no more playing around without commitment. So today I made some decisions. There are two pieces that I know I want to finish for the show, both with baskets. I have been coiling right along so at least the forms are made and I know what they will be “about”. (That’s an odd term that people often use about art. What is your work about?) And I know I want to include drawings, both charcoal and encaustic. The gallery is a fairly small space so I needn’t have a lot of work.
Basket pieces: a coiled piece with encaustic painting on it to mimic the raku tea bowl I made. If you make the same image in two different techniques, how much can they be alike? The other one is using natural material found in the area to create surfaces on three lidded baskets. And the drawings will include birds, I’m sure. I can’t get away from them!
All the work shown here is in progress. Stay tuned…
In thinking about the work, I also found myself thinking about a reassessment of where I am with the idea of identity. Moment of revelation: it is a really big idea. I have a feeling that I will be dealing with parts of it for a long time. The most relevant point that has become apparent to me here is the role place plays in one’s identity. You can’t help but be affected by the physical aspects of Vallauris. But there is also the history that is embodied here and the knowledge of clay and art that lives here. They are not of the physical place, but they don’t exist anywhere else and so that makes them peculiar to this place.
I feel as if I am collecting information and ideas here. That I am watching myself and not requiring that the work be specific or on a particular path. It’s a very different way of working and actually scares me a little. But the balance between known processes and unknown challenges seems to be working. I can’t imagine going home to doing only the same work I did before.