Sunday, July 6

Listening Within

I loosely had a goal yesterday of maybe throwing 60 mugs. I got to 46 but I wasn't feeling so hot so not too bad.

I was reading something last night which I thought applied aptly to pottery making. I know in my own work it has been a bit of a struggle to give myself permission to take chances or try something new, worried that the result might not be successful, people might not like it, almost like worried about embarrassment or something. I've heard and read a few things that have really changed my way of thinking in the last few months.

One was on an NPR program and they were interviewing an artist whose medium was nails. That's all he ever used for his sculptures were nails. The thing I took away from that interview was a comment he made that by limiting himself to such an extent he became truly inspired and creative. I imagine once you think you are out of ideas of what to do with nails, is probably when you really start to get ideas. That's when I decided to get rid of a lot of my glazes and limit myself to four or five (I had twelve going I think). This is already having a noticeable, positive effect on my work.

Another thing I heard somewhere was the idea that no one had to see something you have made unless you make the decision to put it out there. That your only audience has to be yourself. That idea really freed me up to try new ideas because if they don't work, who cares. I don't have to sell it, I don't even have to show it.

I also used to believe that I had to make all these items. Not forms so much as items. I have been spending a lot of time going through my old Ceramic Monthlys and I have observed that the interviewer often will say something like: so and so's forms, or the forms so and so makes and I realized that I don't think that's it? How boring or whatever, on the contrary I found myself thinking how lucky and freeing and I realized one day as I was reading that there was no reason this couldn't be me. How enlightening! I can make whatever I want! I like making ovals, I like making cups, I like making bowls, I like making teapots and if those are the only forms I make for the rest of my life then that is my choice and it is okay. That is very freeing, to let go of the idea that you HAVE to do something, or that you SHOULD be doing this or that.

So last night I was reading and I thought this was very inspiring. The author is Erich Schiffmann and the book is "Yoga, the Spirit and Practice of Moving Into Stillness". He's talking about his experience writing the book and he says: ". . . that spontaneous intuitive revelation flows into your mind, when you pay attention inwardly, are receptive, and listen . . . to move into stillness in order to be guided from within, and then to be brave enough, and willing, to do as the within is prompting you to do-even when you cannot explain your behavior to yourself or others. In this way you will be an inspired, inspiring, and meaningful prescence".

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