The same but different!

On yesterday’s blog post a reader wrote isn’t that the same form you have been working on for 15 years? Actually, no it is the same form I’ve been working on for the 35 years since I spent a summer at Wobage Farm, Upton Bishop, Herefordshire, Wales with Mick  and Sheila Casson. For me and I think my friend Robin Grass Hopper Mick’s jugs were the standard to reach for. Look at Robin’s jug on the well used cover of my Functional Pottery book. This jug so speaks to me of Mick.
Here is a big jug at my front door that I use to put my canes in. You can certainly see what I was looking at way back some 20 years ago when I made it. It took many variations to make that jug mine. The addition of a third part – the foot made it more mine. I go back to this form time and time again changing little things like the rim, the handle, the handle termination, and now adding handle to handle.
I think if you were to draw a graph of a serious potter’s growth it would zoom like a rocket for a decade and then it will go flat with maybe small growth blips over the years. Some potters zoom and then stall forever.
I remember Mick telling me the building of his wood salt kiln rejuvenated his enthusiasm for his work. I think teaching has been the fuel that has kept my fire alive. I am so pleased to see the great work of the students I have influenced over the past 20 years. They are now adding a fourth part to my third part.

When Leonard Cohen was asked if he knew when he had written a good song. He replied “ If I knew where the good songs came from I’d go there more often.!”


...dh said…
tc… Keeping to the Leonard Cohen theme: Forget your perfect offering! Any decent potter worth his or her salt (pardon the pun) should know it and should live by it but it's not for the meek and weak. It takes guts to display your flaws.

[“Ring the bells that still can ring / Forget your perfect offering / There is a crack in everything / That’s how the light gets in.” Cohen called it “the closest thing I could describe to a credo”.]

That’s how the light gets in. Every foot on every jug you have ever made in your life has been different, has been flawed and hallelujah for it. Forget your perfect offering. You crossed over from meticulous craftsperson slash Guild Guy to Artist along time ago. Meticulous craftsperson of course!!! letting the light in through the cracks makes you the artist that you are. It’s the difference that separates the wheat from the chaff and it’s a credo that is either a cross to bear or completely enlightening depending on how strong you feel on the day. May the itch of inspiration keep you up at night for along time to come; and R.I.P. Leonard Cohen. …dh
Anonymous said…
DH: Please send me your email. You are a wonderful writer and i sooooo appreciate your thoughts. You have made my day with your insightful writing that so well pinpoints what goes on in my brain. T
gz said…
Mick Casson was...and his work still is...inspiring.
I met him in 1974 I think, when I was on Foundation at Cardiff College of Art. He was in the ceramics department for a week and the Foundation tutor sent me there...and thirty years later he still remembered me..and I love his work

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