Anne Mette Hjortshøj – Paying Honest Attention

Another great short film from Goldmark Gallery! Well Done. Anne Mette Hjortshøj – Paying Honest Attention is so inspiring.  These films all have such a great vibe about them.  I watch them over and over and then go make pots.  They calm me down and lift me up all at the same time.  They give me something to aim for and affirm that I am on the right path.  I feel an earthy connection to the potters featured in these intimate glimpses.  I want to be this kind of potter making pots fired in a wood kiln, living this kind of life in the country, growing organic food, working outside in open space collecting materials locally to use in or on my pots, living a life inspired.

I love the look of Anne Mette’s pots. The fluid nature of the clay in the lugs for the handles of her teapots, for example, look as if the clay is still soft and the handle has lifted it up in the center. The colors and patterns are fantastic.  I like how she makes and uses stamps for adding patterns of texture for the glaze to run over or collect in or break over and edge.  After seeing her beautiful pots and then watching the video it came as no surprise to me that she fires with wood.  Most of my favorite potters fire with wood.  There is nothing better in my opinion than a wood fired pot.  There is so much going on with color and surface from the flames and ash and salt.  You can look at a wood fired pot a hundred times and see something new each time.

I love the way Anne Mette talks about making pots and the process of learning with Phil Rogers. It’s very clear she holds him in the highest regard.  He is one of my favorite potters and an opportunity to learn and work with him would be a dream come true.  I really enjoyed reading his book called Throwing Pots back when I started my clay journey.

So check out the film and the links and let me know what you feel.

I’ve added Goodreads on the bottom right so I can share what books I have read or want to read.  If you have read some great pottery books please recommend them to me.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

C#

First 3 teapots ever

C# first 3 teapots

Cameron Sharp Pottery first 3 teapots

I just uploaded a photo of my first three teapots.  I have been wanting to make some for a while so this is awesome for me.  All three are different.  The first has a deep lid that fits in a gallery with lugs for a cane or wood handle, the second has the lid fitting over a lip with a pulled handle, and the third was inspired by one that Simon Leach made in one of his videos.  It’s for green tea and has no lid with a handle on the side.  I’ll be doing some videos where I talk about the process of making and critiquing my work, so look for those in the future on my YouTube channel at Cameron Sharp Pottery.  I think it is important to be able to do that and decide what worked and what did not or what I like or don’t like to learn what can be done next time.  For example the 3rd teapot has a spout and handle that are too long for practical use.  I think a shorter handle would give more leverage lifting a pot full of tea and the spout could be made to the same length as the handle for balance both physically and aesthetically.  And it would take up much less space on the counter or in the cupboard.

Thanks for visiting.

C#

Why all the othering?

What does it mean to be a simple potter?  What does it mean to be a clay artist?  What does it mean to be a ceramic artist?  What does it mean to be a traditional potter in a modern world?  What is contemporary ceramics?  What does it mean to be a sculptural clay artist?

Does any of this really matter?  Why is it that we try to put everything in a box?  Or assign a label?  It is very limiting.

There is always the pressure to make a living so items are made for practical sales.  However people buy art as well as soup bowls, they buy sculptures, teapots, plaques, tiles, and everything else made from clay.  Which label leaves room for doing anything with clay?  Pure art would not concern itself with sales and yet to be an artist you must sell enough to be able to have the time to make art again and again.  So at some level something must sell whether it is a pot or a sculpture or a tile for someone’s shower.  The purity can be in the making, then the practical can be in the selling.

There is the making stage.

There is the selling it stage.

Two distinct activities…  oops there it is again.  Separating into 2 boxes of activity.  Why is everything so compartmentalized?  I think in the west we are trained this way as we live our lives here.  We are influenced by what we hear.  “Don’t mix business and pleasure” We are brainwashed by big media to zone out in front of a tv and watch a depiction of other people living their lives, to get caught up in it so we follow it, talk about it with our coworkers as if it is important and these are real people, we program our devices to capture the next episode because we just cannot miss it.  Sure it is the story telling of our times, but we could be living our own life instead of watching others live theirs.  It’s 2 dimensional. flat, false, made up, contrived, and spoon fed to us so that we disconnect with ourselves, our emotions, our physical body, our being is split and separated, we become a group of boxes, we fit ourselves into what boxes are offered as acceptable.  We are forced to choose time and again what box we go into.

Even when we sign up for a Facebook page it asks are you an artist, company, product, etc.  and then when you pick we are asked to pick another box to stuff ourselves into and the categories don’t include one that is accurate or real so we compromise and pick something that is close.  But it isn’t.  Same with signing up for Paypal as a merchant to sell handmade pots.  There is no category for selling art, only art supplies.  There is no category for selling handmade anything.

Look at our history and find all sorts of “othering” in the form of classicism, racism, sexism, exclusivity, etc. We are in a constant state of war somewhere in the world with some country or group we deem as other.  Us against them, they are the others, we are not the others, those people over there who are somehow different for some reason are the ones we call other.  We are brought up to believe in competition.  Teamwork and collaboration are encouraged so long as we come together to defeat the other.  The criteria for othering is false and on the surface.  It is made up and handed to us.  The truth is we are all human beings, really we are all earth beings to take it a step further to include animals and we share the same planet.  I guess that is the big box we are all in…Earth.

I am human, I am potter, I am artist, I am son, husband, father.  I am friend, I am clay, water, fire.  I am breath.  I am I, You are you, and we are One.

I know!  Maybe I’ll make some boxes.  Square ones, round ones, flat ones, tall ones.  Hey, a casserole is a box.  I’ll make those.

Thanks for stopping by.

C#

Let’s start here – Gratitude

Let me start with gratitude and a big thank you to Simon Leach.

When we moved in 2010, I was searching for info about gardening so I could create one for my little boy to play in.  I was looking up composting, soil amendments, water conservation and then landed on a video of someone making an olla.  It is an earthenware pot with a wide belly and a longish neck. You bury it in the ground with the neck sticking out, fill it with water and cap it with a stone.  Then you plant around it and since the pot is unglazed the water seeps out slowly and does not evaporate.  It’s almost 100 % efficiency.  For larger spaces you can bury as many as you like.  I was also interested in permaculture so I thought about making a spiral garden with a pattern of ollas forming a spiral. With the stones on top it would look cool to have a spiral of floating stones.

Anyway with the way YouTube works and gives you tons of related videos for each one you watch I watched another pottery video and another…  Eventually I stumbled upon Simon Leach.  I instantly connected with his straight forward style with no music or fancy editing and text etc. He just let the camera roll and did his thing. It was natural and honest.  He let me see his moments of oops as well as offered a lot of detail about how he was doing what he was doing.  Since I was up in the middle of the night anyway with my son who was 1 at the time I kept watching while holding him in my arms and rocking him back to sleep.  I watched all the videos on his channel and at that time it was 600 or so.  Then I watched them again in order.  I had not even touched clay at this point.  I was obsessed with this business of throwing on the wheel. I was being entertained and absorbing all of it in a gentle almost passive way.  It was liking priming the pump, getting ready, or fixin’ to start.

This was back at the end of the summer in 2010.  I’ve come a long way in my pottery life since then and would like to express my most sincere gratitude to all those who have supported me and helped me along the way.  Thank you Simon Leach.  Your videos are inspiring, informative, and have helped me find this new direction for my life along the path of clay.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

C#