Greta MIchelle Joachim: Fine Artist and Potter
Pieces of My World II
I finally got back into the studio. Let me tell you it wan't what I thought it would be. I imagined that I would be a well oiled machine; throwing in a rhythm with the clay only potters can hear. Instead, I was only able to throw one piece per session.Between cleaning on Monday, meetings on Thursday, I threw Tuesday and Wednesday which means only two pieces made last week. Sigh...I've learnt some important lessons since embarking on this clay journey. The most important one is to listen to my body. Potters, artists are individuals that can sometimes have no scheduled time to work. We don't do nine to five. We can be found in the studio 4:00 am or at 4:00 pm. Depending on the demands we are notorious for pulling all nighters or working through lunch or dinner or both.
Because of the rigour needed to work with clay it's easy to stress our bodies to past breaking. This has been the case with me. I am paying for it now with the fingers of my left hand experiencing the pain of a trigger finger (stenosing tenosynovitis) While it's not severe enough to warrant the 'S' word (surgery) I have to be very aware of how much pressure I exert so as not to stress the already stressed.
It's crucial for us to take care of our bodies; to do what I call the "Stop, Look and Listen for Potters"
Necessity has made me go back and re read some chapters in Ben Carter's book Mastering the Potter's Wheel
I especially looked at the chapter on health and safety and that's our clay talk for today. Taking precautions with our time in the studio. Carter reminds us of one important rule: "pay now or pay later"
Clay studios/spaces should be places that are free from dust, which can pose breathing hazzard; mopping and not sweeping being the rule of thumb
Care should be taken with posture to preserve the integrity of the lower and upper back. One change I've made in this area was to place my wheel on blocks so that I can stand or if I'm sitting on my stool, my back is straight therefore my spine is straight.
Stretching is important. Carter highlights some simple but effective exercises that will help alleviate any strain to the back while assisting in strengthening the core. This is a book worth owning for all potters and would be potters alike.
Todays inspiration comes from none other than **William Shakespeare's Othello and what a quote it is! Iago hit the nail on the head here. Something to ponder as we sail along this week: how are we tending our gardens? Will we get a pass or a failing grade as gardeners?
I think I need to up my game. what about you?
** Othello William Shakespeare. Act 1 Sc 3
All this talk about self-care brings me back to why I enjoy making tea bowls.
The very act of holding with both hands and caressing the bowl while you sip forces a slowing down; a pause in the rushing and leads to a meditative, contemplative state of being. We all need to come apart every now and then. We all need to stop the rushing and walk. Why not do so with one of these bowls?
Until next week, Here's to a week of awareness and body/self-love. Remember to stop, look and listen.
I look forward to hearing from you so leave a comment, share a thought.
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I have been on studio lock out. Self imposed as I give my body time to heal. While my hands were resting my mind has been busy. So many ideas and things I want to make and revisit...I feel like I'm about to pop!
Well the wait is over. No more sitting around. I'm going in! but first I'll clean.
To help get me in a frame of mind to work- not just for inspiration I like looking at throwing/ making videos on YouTube. So for our clay talk this week I'm going to post an old video of me throwing when my studio was still under construction and I had to use an extension cord from the house to get light electricity in there.
Where do you find inspiration for your creative endeavours? How do your ideas flow from you to the clay or the fabric or canvas?
For me, inspiration can come from anywhere and anything. I find inspiration in my surroundings and especially from my history; my ancestors and my elders
My grandmother was and is still my greatest source of inspiration. For me she was Wonder Woman, Storm and Jean Gray all rolled into one (Please forgive me for crossing Marvel and DC but you get the point) By the time I got up in the morning as a child, she had already fed the chickens and ducks, tended to her plants, prepared breakfast, got her pots on to make her various concoctions, lit the oven for cakes if she had the baking to do for the parlour and was either decorating a cake or making a floral arrangement for someone.
If it was Sunday, then the day would include a trek to the beach (family outing) and she would have us picking up shells to be used in her shell craft. Some of the things I learnt from her: basketry, crochet, embroidery, (I have since lost this art since it was NOT one of my favourite activities) baking... I can go on but then that is just bragging. I enjoyed spending time with her even when she was scolding me- she did that often. Turns out I was quite the handful.
Now as I form the clay into simple pots, the things she did, the lessons taught come back to me and I find myself wanting to incorporate them into the clay.
Share your inspirations. I'd love to know what feeds your creativity and provides your muse.
Here's a beautiful piece for you to add to your collection. I made this in early 2013 when I was into how high can I go pots. It's the first 'tall' thin form I threw. The surface was chattered to create the textured marks and then brushed with black underglaze after bisque firing. This is a mid-range porcelain, back when I was firing in my electric kiln.
You can never go wrong with black and white.
Next week there'll be a "how I make" on Clay Talk and we'll explore further, what inspires and drives the creative spirit. Hope you come in and join me every Sunday evening for this potter's log and please share, tell a friend, subscribe and above all, comment so I know you're there.
Until then, have an inspired week!
As I mentioned last week I have been in planning phase in anticipation of this year studio activities. This included investing in a planner; more specifically a social media planner, various gel pens and more calendars than there are months in the year. Seriously though, here are seven tips I have used as part of my self-speak this week to start kicking the social media mountain.
leave a comment below to share your thougts and experiences. I'd love to hear from you.
I'm so excited cause next week I am back in studio. Two new features will be added to the blob: Clay Talk and Inspiration Wall will be added to the blog so please remember to subscribe to stay up to date on all the happenings.
Clay Talk will introduce you to the world of clay with how to demos in both image based or video format. Learn aboout wedging clay, about how I do handbuilding projects or how I throw on the wheel and pull up a simple cylinder. I will also post simple projects for those of you who might want to try a little handbuilding. I'll also be talking about the tools I use and shoing you how to make some of your own clay tools to cut cost and sharing tips that can help you repurpose things that you might have normally thrown away.
Inspiration Wall will be where we share ideas, photos of the week, people, artists, potters, interesting quotes that have inspired or sparked some creative thrust or have just gotten me out of a fugue. Feel free to drop a line in the comments or contact me if you find something you feel is inspiring to you and remember to hit that subscribe button so that you can stay up to date.
What's Available In Store