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?


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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