Monday, October 8, 2007

Patience, focus and do what you love

I had a great conversation this morning with Adrienne Dellinger (you should check out her work, and take any chance to talk to her about her new focus in clay, I find it so interesting, the way she is making it, the connection and history.).

As background, the other day I received within days of each other my Ceramics Monthly and then Ceramics Times magazines. After flipping through them and viewing all the work, I felt so overwhelmed by the work out there, and by all there is do- apply for....there are just some incredible artists and ceramics, and in my infant stages of exploring clay, I feel intimidated and wonder what am I even thinking, when there are all these awesome expressions in clay out there!!! I just want to give the whole thing up!

And that is when I decided to stop my subscriptions to both. It is just too much information and I do not like having thoughts that my work doesn't "live up" to that work in the magazines. And it is SO much information to process and I don't want to. I don't like feeling it. I feel like I just have to block it out and just explore and do what I am doing.

When I told this to Adrienne, she completely understood...and said just follow what you love in clay, do it, explore it and you will be successful.

How many times have I heard this? Have you? It feels cliche but that is why, it is TRUE.

Then I started thinking about how clay itself teaches me about patience and focus. Clay will not go faster than it will is hard to push it (anything is possible) but it doesn't like it. I have to be in its rhythm-not distracted by what the world is doing- at least I like it best when I am. My pieces feel right.

Has anyone else cancelled their subscriptions?


Amy Sanders said...

It's so funny that you say this, Elaine, because I recently had the same thought. I'm thinking about spending my "magazine dollars" on interior design publications because I'd rather be inspired by new trends in textiles and such or go to the library and be inspired by historical work. The only downside to not having these publications is that they're good resources for images of work to share with my students.

ps- I feel overwhelmed and low on the ceramics totem pole all the time and don't know the remedy to that. Let me know if you find it- candy maybe?

Ron said...

I cancelled about 5 years ago. It was the best thing I did. I still break down and buy a copy off the shelf everynow and then. I think Amy has a good point about putting her money in the interior design magazines. That will feed her work. I have decided to spend money on journals and sketchpads and pens. And tea.
If I need to look at pots I try to look at old ones, hundreds of years old. Not what's out there now. It's hard to do, I am really bad to compare myself to others in all aspects of life. It's not productive for me to do that.

Elaine Spallone said...

Guys those are great comments. Great idea about textile trends Amy-I can feel that is going to be so interesting for your work..AND that you live in a place that was filled with textiles and are gone now...and Ron, love that tea is on the list! And another great suggestion at looking at really old pots...

Candy works for a little bit, I is a toughy, if you ask me...not comparing, or feeling overwhelmed....My best idea for now is to tune it all out.

Sister Creek Potter said...

Elaine, I just 'discovered' your blog by finding the address on Ron Philbeck's site. I love your work. You have clearly found your own voice! I too have only been working with clay for about 4 years--but don't think I have found my own path yet. I especially like the 'letter cups' wonderful idea!
I know just what you are talking about death and how we as a culture try to block it out of our lives! I lost an infant son and that relationship/memory is so precious to me--yet I can't mention him because it is not acceptable conversation--it upsets everyone.
I shall look forward to checking in to see what you are doing! Gay

Elaine Spallone said...

Gay- thank you for your comments...I am grateful my work resonates with you. It inspires me to continue exploring this path!!

T.Gray said...

The following quote comes from Marguerite Wildenhain, and I think speaks to all of us. BTW, I discontinued my subscriptions years ago.

".... And we will mature, and some element will become visible in our work that comes from our innermost experience in life, something that no techniques, nor any amount of historical training or courses in 'design' could ever foster, something that is our own, and unique. For if a thing is conceived in the depths of our being, we will find a way to express it: it may be crude and unskillful, but it will be honest and intelligible."
Marguerite Wildenhain