The things I want in my life have changed. Maybe it's age, or a growing global consciousness that relates to our current social and environmental predicament. "Stuff" has become repulsive. It takes up space. It can even feel oppressive. Our "stuff" has become excessive... yet we can't seem to stop getting more. Walmart and Winners is full of whole sets of beautiful and even funky dish sets for $20. So for me, the potter, the idea of making more stuff can sometimes feel WRONG.
My potter-self is extremely conflicted.
I've shared this inner-conflict with some of my artist friends. It's a surprisingly common problem, at least among my peers. Maybe it's contagious. But in all seriousness, in this era of "austerity" art can seem extremely superfluous, not just in the buying but also in the making. Who knew?
Do people really need or want my artisanal products? Or, are they a burden?
If they do need (or want) them, WHAT do they need or want? Is it a mug to be cherished. "Your" mug. The one you reach for in the morning to savour the first steaming cup of java on a cold winter morning. The one you curl up with, cradled in your hand, resting against your belly for the extra warmth as you sink into a good book in the evening?
|a requested bowl|
A piece of sculptural wall art that makes you smile each time you pass it in the hall. A piece so whimsical and outrageous that no matter your mood, you can't ignore it's ability to bring a smile to your face and embrace the ridiculousness of this life.
Song "Art" by Tanya Davis (definitely worth the listen!!)
This post has no conclusion. It's an ongoing debate that I struggle with each time I enter the studio. What I do know, beyond the shadow of any doubt, is that whether "stuff" is produced or not the act of being creative is absolutely essential to our existence. It should be encouraged in all its manifestations. This is especially so in times of economic austerity and impending environmental catastrophes.
(to be continued...)