A Clean Community is a Happy Community
Now that we are moving toward the end of the year and therefore the holiday season, the studio will be getting busier and busier. While we all have deadlines and projects we are wanting to complete within the next few weeks, it is vital to remember to clean up the equipment you have used and leave it better than you found it. As you might have experienced, coming to a dirty work station is a bummer, and having to clean a table of the history of someone else's project can be irritating to say the least. So, this season, remember there is no I in team and no dirt in clean. Clean up after yourself, and if you spot some areas that have been left a mess, pitch in and clean those up too.
Things that are routinely left unclean:
Soda Soda Soda!
We hold monthly community soda firings in our dedicated gas reduction soda kiln. Here are the details for the next two firings:
Cone 10 firing led by Heather Hitt and Will Abraham
Cone 6 firing led by Ann Marie Cooper
You can get all the details by visiting the Burnish Clay Studio Soda Firing page.
Last Critique Club of the Year
On November 7th, we will hold our last critique club of the year. We will pick them up again at the end of January. These meetings have been created and run by what will be known as Burnished Clay Artists Collective, an organization created to fund and support the Burnish Studio Grant Fund. Going forward, the group will also train any interested artists to run their own critiques so that they might teach others of the value and power of constructive critical feedback.
The Importance of the Hand and the Heart
As a person who attempts to teach people hand skills so that they might create art, it is my first priority to create a space where everyone can feel like they can play. Fear and doubt are the biggest killers of creative drive and curiosity, so providing an environment where improvement, and not perfection, is valued is vital in coaching people to feel free enough to take risks. I encourage people to cheer each other on. I help people to stop negative self-talk. I teach them the physics of clay. But I do not teach art. This is because art and creativity lives within each one of us in a different expression of human energy and vitality. Everyone has it, but not everyone is encouraged to search for and harness it. This is because it is scary. Most people are afraid of what they will see in themselves if they search too deeply. We have been taught to fear ourselves. This is why real creativity is a mystery to most people; most people are a mystery to themselves.
When a person makes something that is not "accurate", "perfect", or in some way or other short of their expectations, it is because their vision of themselves is what they have been taught they are supposed to be, and not who they are, which is much more beautiful, raw, and frankly, relatable.
Humanity is flawed. There is no denying that in this time, and wanting or expecting perfection from the human hand is part of the brain washing we have endured as we attempt to grow to maturity in this society, one which is sick with addiction, violence, and greed.
Allow yourself your flaws, your humanity. Leave room in your day to consider that you might be much more than anyone around you has led you to believe. Your hands know your heart, so please trust them to translate what is lying deep inside you, waiting to come out. We need this stuff in you, all of us. We need your inspiration, your struggle, your beauty and your humanity.
There are a million ways to trim your pots, and if you are trimming them on the wheel, it is just fine to use the Giffin Grip if you have no trouble centering. If you are still struggling with centering on occasion, I suggest you practice tapping your pots into center to trim them. This will give you practice moving clay into the center of your wheel and help you improve in every stage of the throwing process.
Bonus: When glazing your mugs, if you are looking for variation between your handle and the body of your mug, dip you handle in water before dipping your mug in glaze. The handle will take on less of the glaze and will look different than the body of the mug while still be visually related to it.