"I've had a little break from throwing with clay on the Potter's Wheel...until now! and it's amazing to see my emotional development change as a person reflected back to me in this beautiful medium. It's a living thing you see clay...most of us think of it like mud, something dead or discarded...but if you tune into it, it can reveal so much, both on a personal level as well as a creative level..." Sonya 2015
As a student on my Ceramics degree at UWE all those years ago I wrote a thesis about the tension between 'the perfect and the free'. This explained how as an artist we strive to produce beautiful and perfectly formed works but tussle with the knowing that to truly form beautiful things we need to be free in our hearts and minds. We need to loosen our control in both technique and mentality to obtain harmony and congruence with our materials. We need to loose our Egos and create in the present moment.
While re-engaging my relationship with clay and throwing on the Potter's Wheel I stumbled across this video below showing Ken Matsuzaki producing his tea blows in his studio. It memorised me because in him I saw this beautiful freedom and 'satori' (or seeing into one's true nature). He is connected with the clay in an emotional and spiritual level, allowing it to form as a manifestation of his own ability to free himself of constraint or expectation. The clay is a conduit for his life experience and presence at this moment in time...beautiful. This is I'm sure why people are willing to pay the money for his tea bowls....they see the truth and honesty in his work. He is un moved by this commercial demand for his work and instead 'just creates in order to be with the clay'.
This is herein where my destiny lies. To be honest and fearless enough in myself to let the clay form at it's will, my hands there just as a guide. Much like we all need to do with our children - not to hold on too tight or live our dreams through them, but to let them be who they are and grow freely.
My aim is to produce ceramics in congruence with my truth and allow it's own natural beauty to evolve in a timeless moment where we are interconnected...
In contrast, many potters will use technique to manipulate form and believe that this is an equally important restraint. They strive to combine the fluidity and spontaneity of throwing with a controlled approach combing 'the perfect and the free'. Is this really possible? The video below gives you an interesting alternate view and one where aesthetically pleasing vessels are created by Eric Lawrence.
In the time-lapse at the top of the blog I also manipulate the clay into a form which I held in my mind while throwing...perhaps there is a happy medium to be held to, where clay meets design? In converse, while throwing the pieces below I held the intention to keep free and let the clay guide me in the shape that formed organically as the whee turned.
This is the way my work is now evolving - I love the subtlety and uncertainty. The clay goes through transitions of vulnerability while I squeeze the moist bands upwards, I'm never sure if it will collapse or hold to it's evolving form...but in it's fragility I believe beauty is born...
So I would love to hear what you think? Do you prefer the idea of clay being left to organically become the form it desires to be at the guidance of a potter's hands? Or are you appealed to the control, distortion and manipulation of the process?
Please post your comments and I will enjoy discussing with you...
My working ethos is 'Play & Revelation' where I continually explore new ways of working, sometimes even destroying works to transform into new!
From February 2019 Sonya will be selling her collections at 'Leaf Creative' in Huntley, owned by Peter Dowle. This beautiful garden centre specialises in unusual shrubs, acer trees and hand selected plants. The perfect place to showcase her leaf inspired ceramics!
Sonya is pleased to announce that having been a provisional member with the Cotswold Craftsmen during 2018, she has now been accepted as a permanent member and invited to be publicity officer on the committee. Sonya will be exhibiting her work at a number of County Shows in 2019 - watch her events page for more upcoming details.
Sonya is now offering 1 day 'Pottery Workshops' with a national craft course provider. Start 2019 learning something new! In 1 day attentive tuition with Sonya you will learn throwing, coiling and hand-building techniques.
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