Saturday, February 14, 2009

I would do anything for love ...but I won't do that

Gift giving can be a tricky thing when you're an artist. You might set out with the best intentions of making someone a really lovely, personal, one-of-a-kind gift with your own two hands. But then things happen. The piece could turn out really uninspiring:

I'm not sure whether or not I started out this piece with the intention of giving it away, but once I saw it come out of the kiln, I knew it was going nowhere.

"Ug, what man would want you now?" I spat out, looking it up and down with all the contempt of a disappointed stage-mom. What I thought would be metallic and speckled, turned out dark and heavy. Utterly disqualified. I wouldn't want it out there with my name on it. It's blog material, but nothing more.

But let's say now that the opposite is true. You might end up with something just amazing. This little pot surpassed my expectations so far that I hardly recognized it in the end.

I certainly didn't expect all the variations in color and texture. It was, I kid you not, a single glaze--applied it thick in parts and thin in others. So I was expecting some subtle nuances here and there. But wow. This trapped a ton of carbon.

I kept turning it around on my banding wheel, looking at it from every angle.

So how could I ever give it away? I don't know who would appreciate how rare a ceramics phenomenon we've got going here. Glazes are often so unpredictable. When they come out as delightfully surprising as this, it's a miracle.

Then there's a sappy romantic in me that says: Giving away something that's so precious to you personally is such a a beautiful expression of love, it really doesn't matter if the person you're giving it to 'gets it.'

So, point of the story is, you can tell how much I love you by how tightly I cling on to the handmade gift I'm giving you. If you have to wrestle it out of my hands while I wail, "No! I'll never be able to recreate it!" then you can be assured that I love you pretty darn much.


Cami said...

Umm, I think they are both beautiful, but I suppose I see what you mean. :) I was lovingly stroking some beautiful ceramics you gave me just yesterday as I cleaned out my cupboards. I left them in to be beautiful as I show my house. (I'm moving, did you know? Back to UTAH of all places. UGH!) So, if you loved them, be assured that they are still loved.

I know what you mean about giving things you love. Luckily, anything handmade that I make can usually copy in some sort of way. It's mostly handing over a work of 20 hours (like a book) to my child who will commence to destroy it in 1 hour. Oh, oh, oh. Hard.

Anne Stewart said...

Moving to Utah?! Oh how exciting. I think I may actually see more of you in Utah. I was there twice last year.
I remember that blue plate I made you! I'm so glad you like it--it was the least I could do for all your generosity (and my giant journal! I loved using that up.)

Esther said...


Your works of art are amazing. I love everything I see on your site, even the pottery piece that you don't like. I'm sorry if it's uncool to say that I like a piece you condemned but I really think it's beautiful.

I will one day own one of your rattle masterpieces but maybe I'll wait to have kids first so I can request an animal with special meaning.

Contact me the next time you are in Utah. I would love to see you ... lunch? It's been much too long. I miss your mom and Michael and everyone ...