Self-Criticism and Creativity

Every other week, I read a newsletter by Robert Genn.  Robert is a painter, teacher, and author.  This week’s newsletter talks about group critiques.  In November, the gallery is hosting an art competition.  I have asked a respected local artist to juror it with me.  For myself, it will be important to have specific points/considerations in looking at each piece of artwork that we consider for the competition.  Many times, Robert’s newsletter redirects my thoughts, causing me to slow down, and really contemplate a current project or just my day in general.

While my kiln is firing, I am thinking about this current work.  What will it look like on Friday?  I know my materials well enough, that I can envision each piece about 80% of the way.  The kiln will effect each piece the remaining 20%.  My percentages might be off a bit but that is my goal.  My desire is to understand my form and materials well enough so that before I even touch clay, I can see the end product in my mind’s eye.  The work is sometimes close to this vision.  Most of the time, I look at a finished piece and see where I didn’t meet my expectations.  This is what continues to drive me to make another pot.  The continued striving for better.   There are so many variables in ceramics:  what clay body to use,  the actual making of the work, how to dry it, bisquing, what glaze to use or not, and how to fire a glaze kiln.  Those of you who know me well, know that I get bored easily, always ready to move on to the next “new thing”.  I think this is one of the reasons I am still making pots after 19 years.  There are always new techniques and skills to be learned/considered.  I love it!  I am certain this is true of all art mediums.

I looked at some older work this morning.  In my opinion, I have gained some ground in the last five years but in many respects,  I have not been as creative.  So, somehow, I need to diligently consider what I am going to make before I sit down at the wheel or the table, and then begin……..

 

Here are some older pots that I continue to like:

 

Cup from 2004

Cup from 2004

 

Vase from 2004

Vase from 2004

 

Tea Bowl

Tea Bowl

 

Casserole 2006

Casserole 2006

 

Mug 2008

Mug 2008

A current pot:

Vase 2013

Vase 2013

 

 From Robert Genn: “The art of self-criticism is key to professionalism. It’s really the fun part; it’s good for the mind at any age and heads off the natural rigidity that can set in during the golden years. Better than waiting for the Jello cart to come down the hall.”