Life lessons learned (and re-learned) from art and ceramics classes or Sabbatical Report Part 2

It’s important to know how and when to Let Go.

When centering a ball of clay on the wheel, sudden movements can throw things off pretty badly.

A little Perspective goes a long way.

In visual art, good perspective is the difference between a flat, unrealistic scene or an image of depth and nuance.

The $20 brush really is Better than the $5 brush.

I’m not exactly sure what the real life parallel is to this, but I find it reassuring!

A task with a clear Endpoint is truly satisfying.

I’ll be working on the f***ing Mozart Bassoon Concerto for the rest of my life, but when I’m done with a bowl, it’s done! And then I can eat ice cream out of it.

Starting from a well-Centered position makes everything go smoother.

(Although something that is ever-so-slightly off center is usually more interesting. (Golden Mean)) Being mentally and physically centered helps enormously.

Modify your Expectations to conform to the results.

While it’s a good idea to have a goal in mind when you start, you may get dragged in another direction. That can be a very good thing.

Hedge your bets, make a second lid or handle.

It’s highly likely that something will break or not fit, just make another. It’s no big deal.

Sometimes the only way to know it just to Try it.

Just because it looks good in a sample doesn’t mean it will work in your piece. Just hold your nose, jump in, and try it.

Contrast is interesting.

Colors, textures, shapes, and forms are all worth juxtaposing and contrasting. It’s just more interesting!

Having some Rules or guidelines is easier than unlimited possibilities.

Just ask Schoenberg.

Don’t get too Attached.

Things break, water spills, wind blows. Get over it.

Quit while you’re ahead.

If it looks good, stop.

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14 Responses to “Life lessons learned (and re-learned) from art and ceramics classes or Sabbatical Report Part 2”

  1. Andrew S. says:

    This makes me happy to read. See you in a few weeks.

  2. Tom Dykas says:

    I know I’ll never be done with the wheel, the glazing, the experimentation. That’s why I make up songs to sing. Because I’m not a singer. So I’m free. To quote some buddhist s***: In the beginner’s mind there are infinite possibilities. In the expert’s there are few.
    That’s a paraphrasing. I think it’s missing the fact that with true mastery, we come back to infinite possibilities as ego and pride dissolve.

  3. meladmin says:

    It’s true Tom. Learning pottery has reminded me of how fun it was to start learning the bassoon when I was a teenager. But now that I’ve been playing for 20 years, I so clearly understand my problems and limitations, and they aren’t as fun to work on anymore. Mostly because I can spend infinite hours and only make incremental progress. Which doesn’t mean I don’t try, but it’s less fun.

    I really do love that pottery has an endpoint. After that glaze firing, that one piece is done. You can’t really say that about a painting or music making.

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