Season’s greetings!

Phew! Holiday sales are done! Culminating in an insane 4 day three event throwdown of standing in the cold, blearily staring out at the world through sleep deprived crusted eyes, and deliriously hawking wares on all the energy a handful of peanuts, several mouthfuls of new improved flavor Goldfish, and half a box of chocolate chip cookies can provide as a dinner. Ah the romance of the life of an artist!

Well, anyway, I’m done with the gymnastics for the time being, and I can comfortably sit back for a few weeks and get fat on my couch watching all the new DVDs I sprang for on Amazon as my little treat to myself (Funny how I just earned my bread on a solid campaign of “buying local” and the first thing I plunk down for is 22 items from my Amazon wishlist…. Oh the hypocrisy!)

But the Holidays are a time for sharing, so today in my first day of recovery I decided to check out what the internet was sharing with me, and came across something I can certainly regift to you guys.

These are from the recent William Powhida show at Postmasters Gallery. See more from the show at his website. These were also posted in the fabulous Brainpickings blog, which if you aren’t reading you should be.

In more things worth regifting, check out these drawings that are from a project by Dave DeVries to imagine what children’s drawings would look like if painted realistically:

Too cool for words!

In other news Juana, Geoff, and Jeff and I had visits at my Saturday and Sunday sale from fellow potter/blogger Lori Buff and an assortment of other potting/collecting blog readers (Tom Johnson, Fred Bowling)(Its  always embarrassing knowing that people who actually know me in person are reading my capering blog blather. Making a fool out of myself on the internet seems far less costly when the audience doesn’t know with certainty that I also have a serious life as a citizen/neighbor/potter….). And then we also got a special treat visit from my and Geoff Pickett’s old instructor Ron Meyers. And talking shop, life, and local events with my neighbors, fellow potters, and customers is always great. So I sold a few pots, but even more important I got to hang out and commune with some clay enthusiasts and otherwise interesting folks. What a blast!

Happy Holidays all! Good cheer and pleasant potting all round!

About Carter Gillies

I am an active potter and sometime pottery instructor who is fascinated by the philosophical side of making pots, teaching these skills, and issues of the artistic life in general. I seem to have a lot to say on this blog, but I don't insist that I'm right. I'm always trying to figure stuff out, and part of that involves admitting that I am almost always wrong in important ways. If you are up for it, please help me out by steering my thoughts in new and interesting directions. I always appreciate the challenge of learning what other people think.
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10 Responses to Season’s greetings!

  1. Scott Cooper says:

    Man, that Dave DeVries stuff is great. I love the idea of using the kids’ drawings as a starting point; could be really interesting in clay, too. Hey, it just so happens I have a little person around who might be able to provide the raw inspiration!

    • You bet it would!

      Kids for sure, but I would also include untrained adults in my project (having limited access to tiny artists). Sometimes these novice clay workers, so liberated from the prejudices of having learned “the right way” of doing things, will turn rules and expectations on their head and produce some stunning efforts of unexpected and guileless beauty that defies my rigorously trained imagination. When you don’t know any better you are free to invent things as you go!

      Expectation hinges on knowledge, and knowledge always does its best to reinforce the perspective. Kids and novices are only at the starting point of that loop. And the good old boy establishment would like us all to tow the line, follow the prescribed steps, shave the rough edges off our square pegs, and slot into our prefab round holes. Talk about “The informal collusion of taste in a statistically insignificant % of the population”! The democratization of art at least gets us to evaluate our standards. And if it isn’t always “anything goes” at least we can occasionally learn from amateur attempts and unorthodox expressions.

      When children learn “Do only as you are told” the imagination suffers. When adults learn “Do only as you will be rewarded” safe habits become calcified. And while knowledge is a liberating tool it is also dangerous when it traps our desires and instincts in rigid pathways with no more necessity than the accident and momentum of having learned to do it that way…. Cultivate a certain amount of aesthetic innocence, keep an open mind, and experiment with abandon. Just like Maggie would. Let Maggie be your teacher.

      Geeze I’ll blather on at the faintest excuse…..

    • Just ran across this from the perfectionist perspective that I though you’d appreciate:

      “Some talented people feel they still haven’t read enough to sit down and write. That is paralyzing. My great friend [Jean] Malaquais had a terrible time. He had read more than anyone I knew. Like many another self-educated man, he had a powerful mind. But he couldn’t write quickly, because he could see everything that was wrong in what he did. He’d realize that so-and-so—whoever: Stendhal, Racine, Molière—had done it better. This even extended into the narrowest corners. Some unheralded Polish novelist who was known for one small ability—Malaquais had read him, too. What an agony that he couldn’t write a book as large as his vision of society. He was forever living in the harshest judgment on his talents. He could sit for twelve or fourteen hours at his desk and end with a page of work, no more, for the day. He had a good style but not good enough for him. “You must be ready,” he would say, “to piss blood in order to find the right tone.””
      —Norman Mailer, The Spooky Art (2003)

      How’s that for different from taking a child’s awkward yet undaunted stumblings as an inspiration?

      • Scott Cooper says:

        Yeah, that’s the polar opposite approach. Unfortunately (perhaps), that quote by Malaquais sounds eerily familiar to what the perfectionist voice in my head murmurs all day long in the studio.

  2. Lori Buff says:

    It was really good to meet you in person and talk clay, we love the pieces we bought. Thank you.

    • It was great to meet you too! Thanks for giving some of my pots a good home too. Its always the best compliment when other potters use our work, and I am suitably honored and humbled. Thanks Lori!

  3. Scott Cooper says:

    “The likelihood the product was advertised in glossy print.” Ouch.

  4. Linda Starr says:

    The kids drawing and ensuing paintings are great, nice to hear about your successful sale and all the potter friend visitors.

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