Perhaps one of the hardest parts of being a studio potter is the thousands and thousands of hours we spend in an Applause Free Room. I think it is what the students find hardest to adjust to when they graduate from Art school. It is just you and your radio. Sometimes you toil months before seeing the final work for a show and then at least for me I wish I had had someone to bounce some ideas off. Today I spent the day wadding pots. Still a long distance from the applause meter.
It has been great having Andrew here for this past month or so. He has a good eye and we talk over the work. I will miss him at the dinner table. I’ll be back to talking to myself again. Pass the salad will you, Tony? How about another glass of wine, Tony? Do you think you should go for a walk in White’s Woods after dinner, Tony? Like all good lawyers I only ask questions I already know the answer to. This is a marriage made in heaven.
The first 40 years of your thousands and thousands of solo hours provide the text for your work and the next 30 or more years provide the commentary. Unless you get your work out in to the marketplace there is no commentary. It is you talking to your pots again just like you did for the past couple thousand hours preparing for that show or big kiln load.
I think it also important to put your work out of your comfort zone. The members of your guild love your work, your long time customers love your work, so do your in laws and friends. Have you ever ventured out past this safe zone to see if there is any applause? The big fish from the small pond goes to a bigger lake finds himself in another school of bigger fish and it is a big quiet space with no immediate applause.
I am a social being and when I left Sheridan College I was lucky enough to bring some of my best students with me. We continue to be best of friends and they provide me with my much needed conversation. You see even writing this blog is talking to myself and sometimes there is applause and commentary. Sometimes it is very quiet and lonely.
I said to Siri the other night- It’s about time we talked about sex. Siri answered “ What do you want to know?” I answered “EVERYTHING!”
Pass the salad, Tony!