Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Why Copycats Fail

I am often awed by how much common ground I have with my brother-in-law who is a research geneticist. We both work in silence and seclusion. We both toll the inner landscape in uncharted territory, intending to bring forth something unknown or unseen yet. We share a near obsessive curiosity about the natural world and what makes a living creature live.

I do not make my stoneware clay owls by technique alone. I am looking at each one in my hand for that precise way that a poke or press creates a living expression.  Some are stern, some sweet, some perhaps a little stoned.


My owls appear in OneClayBead as an owl soap dish:

and here as a handmade owl casserole:

If you reach inside yourself, you may discover a place where owls take shape. On the other hand, if you look at my work to see how I did it, and reproduce it by technique alone, your copy will be lifeless. And this is why copycats fail. It is why true artists have work similar in structure and form that has a life all to itself.

This is a discussion started on Artisans Gallery Team and continued on the blog of Nicolas Hall.

If you have thoughts or experiences with copycats, you are welcome to comment.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Joyful Blaze

Joyful Blaze bowl

When I first met my husband, we often stayed up all night talking. We sat opposite each other on the couch, our feet tangled between us. In the morning we watched the sun rise. There is always that moment when the dawn hits the horizon and the sky lights up with an astounding brilliance. Gold flows over the landscape.

I have never been able to photograph a sunrise that captures the rich surprise of color. So I have said in glaze what my camera cannot. This series of hand built ceramic bowls is Joyful Blaze.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Birds Nest Casserole

I made this casserole extra large. it is 4 qts. I didn’t like the way it photographed on my white staging table, so I moved it to the old enamel table in my kitchen. I had to move the table around to get nice soft light, but I am really happy with these shots.  I am using more food styling. The buttermilk is from a local dairy and the organic eggs are local, too. There is nothing like real farm fresh food.  We are fortunate here in Asheville to have so many farmers markets and organic grocery stores that support our local growers and farmers.



Here is the Birds Nest casserole in my Etsy store. A bird's nest with eggs is a symbol of prosperity, comfort and good fortune on it's way.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Urban Rustic Dinnerware

Beach Storm 1

Beach Storm dinnerware set

My dinnerware had to be changed. This directive did not come from the marketplace, clearly; I have orders booked 8 months out. I don’t know, after all these years, what drives my work forward in new directions.

blue vines bowl 1

Ice blue bowl with vines

I know that I worked through many transitions until these new pieces finally emerged. As soon as I had enough individual pieces that felt right, I began assembling them into sets. The last piece to emerge was the thrown and altered bowl from Minimalist:

minimalist 1

Minimalist dinnerware set

Which is also in this set:

soft kiss 3

Soft Kiss dinnerware set

River Journey has the same elements of my older set except for the vines on the underside:

river journey dinnerware 1

But I truly, after all these years, do not know where these ideas come from. If I want new ideas, what I do is to stare at something from the natural world, or perhaps photographs of it. One minute there are shadows from the fence posts in the late afternoon, and the next there are textured stripes in my clay.

Sarah- Lambert Cooke wrote this week about inspiration here.  Victoria, owner of Donauluft wrote about it here.

We seem to have one thing in common. Inspiration is born in moments of fascination. It is the best experience I have ever known.