Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Connectedness Part 1

Connectedness is a topic I have been mulling on for quite a long time. So I thought I would give it a shot as a serial post. But to keep myself on track instead of just rambling, I decided an outline would be in order. Here it is:

Part One: Thoughts on connectedness and James Garner, past and future; not really connected to pottery except through my love of him and my love of pottery.
Part Two: The Elegance of the Hedgehog and The Potter's Challenge
Part Three: The Book of Hours and Scrapbooking
Part Four: Texture and the details of leaves
more as needed...... or maybe you should suggest something?

The mythologist Joseph Cambell talked about making lists as a way to sort things out (at least that's what I remember). You can read more about him in the book, "Joseph Campbell, A Fire in the Mind". I think from this exercise of list making you find connections between things. I tend to keep some running lists in my head, using the brain/mind as a file sorter and filter. Sometimes the lists are more felt, than realized. Sometimes the convergence of lists hits you like a brick over the head.

Anyway, I have this running list of work I have made in my background, so while browsing through a new pottery book "20th Century Ceramics", I turned a page and was stunned by a photo of a 1906 earthenware vase by Thorvald Bindesbell.. This pot is an homage to Hokusai's print. The "stunned part" was that I made a pot, very similarly shaped, using the same breaking wave patterns and the same color patterns quite a while ago. My pot sits on the mantle of my in-laws' fireplace. Wish I could show you, but no digital images. Maybe no slides, even, because I have never documented every piece that I made.

It has the same black background but texture created by carving. So I have been beating my brains, trying to figure out if I had seen this pot and subconsciously it wafted it's way into my work or if I was so influenced by the Hokusai print (I have had a copy of it hanging in my studio since 2000) that I strove to put that image on a pot of my own and now it looks like a copy of a long dead potter's work. The kicker is that I don't ever remember looking through the book I saw it in (first publish date 2003), I know I've never seen it in person and don't remember the image from elsewhere. I'm almost positive my pot predates 2003, because the clay body was one that I used while I took classes at Gaston College. It was a beautiful toasty body, part Gold Art and Red Art, that Keith Lambert used to have us make. I know I bought materials to make up a bunch of it before I stopped taking classes because I would no longer have access to the clay mixer. So I was using it and firing it in my kiln at home, taking the reduction glazes we used and the clay body and working in oxidation and at a couple of cones lower.

Now I know that I have looked at South American, Polynesian and Oriental pots and seen similarities in the design patterns that probably cropped up independently of one another. That's a whole big subject--the independent thought or invention of cultures, technology and art that have occurred through the ages. I'm not thinking about that large a connection. I'd just like to know if mine was independent or subconscious.

Oh, the James Garner thing: I have always loved him. Watched and loved Rockford files. Saw that it was scheduled to be remade as a TV series with Dermot Mulroney as the Jim Rockford character. Everything old is new again?

3 comments:

Jen Mecca said...

Did you like The Elegance of the Hedgehog? We just read it for my bookclub...pretty interesting/strange. I too have a crush on the young James Gardner. I loved the Rockford files!

Vicki Gill, potter said...

I did really like it after a bit of a rocky start. I met someone who had read it and she told me that she didn't though. Funny how everyone has such different tastes.

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