The Beauty Way

I've made a pretty darn living making pots on The Beauty Way. I've been in basement studios and on the big stage. Lucky for me I've done it my way. When I set out to be a potter 43 years ago I never looked up. Some times I was hotter than a pistol but you're never hot enough in this gig. You are only as hot as your last kiln load, last workshop, last blog, last show, last stumble. I visited my friend a long time Buddist and he said "There is no such thing as luck, it is The Universe conspiring to lead your life. Listening to Ray Wylie Hubbard's The Beauty Way this aft lead me to reading a Navajo Prayer called The Beauty Way. Here is a small part of it. Through the returning seasons, may I walk. On the trail marked with pollen may I walk. With dew about my feet, may I walk. With beauty before me may I walk. With beauty behind me may I walk. With beauty below me may I walk. With beauty above me may I walk. With beauty all around me may I walk. In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, lively, may I walk. In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, living again, may I walk. My words will be beautiful… So the pistol has cooled down and I'm spending a lot of time unloading beliefs that carried me and perhaps drove me. I thought flowers were to be painted by those that love flowers. Whales on pots are for those that live around whales. Palm trees are for those that enjoy palm trees. Mountains belong to people that live in the mountains. Well, I just dumped that box in the landfill. Do what turns your crank but do it well. If you can paint bamboo on a pot and live in the artic then go for it and do it well. So I'm on this day lily kick. I am loving them. So I've taken to painting a floral designs on my pots using slip. They are marks not literal realistic images of any particular flower. In another life I had a two chamber wood kiln and the second chamber was salted. I discovered that cobalt slip painted over my cockroach yellow slip gave a beautiful emerald green. I wanted more of the green so I did a line blend of the two slips. So with the line blend I bought a bunch of plastic cups. Line blend 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Rutile slip 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Cobalt slip somewhere around 5 parts rutile and 5 parts cobalt is a nice green. Want a lighter shade of green 6 parts rutile 4 parts cobalt. I hope you get the drill. General Purpose White Slip Cone 4-12 400 Ball 400 EPK 500 Nep Syn 600 Silica Noxema Blue 3% cobalt carb Cockroach Yellow 30% rutile Yes those oxide percentages are correct. I believe excess is never enough. The wood kiln is well seasoned now and we seem to be getting a lot of alkaline vapour which looks like salted surfaces. Of course my research will be an entire kiln load of painted slips. Do what ya want to do. Be who you want to be. Dance like ya wanna dance. Rule #1-there aren't any!


Anonymous said…
That's the joy and privilege of being a mature artist you can let go of all the bullshit.
smartcat said…
Thanks for reminding us of the beauty way.
Your lilies on teapots have the sense and gesture of the flowers. Forty plus years show in your confident brushwork.
Would love to see some photos of your day lilies. Mine are enjoying a banner summer.
Tony Clennell said…
Smartcat: Thanks if you are on Instagram I have posted dozens of lilies. Best, T
Anonymous said…
Don't you have a superstition about day lilies, being here today and gone tomorrow,
impending death and all that?
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