Monday, April 28, 2008

i'm back.

i got back in this morning at about 3am. we had a really good weekend, there was a threat of rain and there was some chilly weather on sunday, but the crowds came out in droves later in the day. the denton show is actually one of my favorite shows to do, there are so many people and so much to see and listen to even just sitting in the booth. it has the longest hours of any show, 12-13 hours on saturday, but the level of activity helps the time to go by fast.

i initially had a lot of self-doubt about my new work. i was really concerned about how it would be received, i tell myself that i am not one to need the acceptance of others to justify what i make, but that in fact is not entirely true. i will always hold firm to my "pottery beliefs, ethics and morals" and will not compromise that integrity to make a buck, but without the people who use my pots and come out year after year to get more, where would i be? so, there is always that fear when you change something that the people who have encouraged you and supported you might not appreciate it. my deepest gratitude goes out to all those people who have come out(this includes my blogging buddies and their words of great encouragement) and supported me this year with kind words of encouragement and patronage. it is with your help that i think i have found my place in the pottery world, i have never been more confident with my work than i am right now.

when i moved in 06' to my current studio i looked very carefully at the work that i had been making, i felt that much of it was very strong but the last few months of production were stale and had the feeling of just getting it done. i destroyed many of these perfectly saleable pots and spent several months without potting thinking about where i was going and what i really wanted to do. when i got back into the studio in the spring of 07' i initially was just going to make pots to try to get into graduate school. i really enjoy the interaction of teaching and it is something that i still want to pursue, but the time just isn't right yet. i've always felt it should be necessary for a teacher to have real world experience, but that is just my opinion. anyways, i got to work in my studio making these "great pots" for my portfolio. well, how does one sit down and make a great pot? i believe it was mackenzie that said: "if i knew how to make great pots i would never again make a bad one." i was being very naive and getting extremely frustrated with what i was producing because i wasn't being true to my core values about pottery. i am a traditional potter, through and through. the mingei folkcraft tradition/philosophy has greatly inspired my work, partially because of my pottery roots in minnesota, it was all i knew at the time. even through the endless study in college of every art and craft movement, this is the one that has always held truest for me. "the unknown craftsman" was an excellent read and the ideas have greatly informed my work and lifestyle, but lets be honest, mingei is dead, it was dead from the very start, it is an idealized product of the past, but the ideas are what is important and i hold them close to my heart and i hope i always will. as far as my work goes i don't really do anything that hasn't already been done, and i'm ok with that. one can be deeply rooted in tradition and still be an individual and unique. i don't necessarily want to be famous or rich, i don't want to shock the art world(or even really be associated for that matter,) i don't need to do anything groundbreaking, i don't even care if my name is remembered in 200 years. what i want is to carry on the tradition of making beautiful things by hand that people can afford and use and be greatly inspired and nurtured by in their homes. if those pots are around in 200 years and still being used, i think that is what would make a great pot and thats good enough for me.

the rambling ceases, thank you for "listening."


Ron said...

Well said Brandon. We are enjoying our pots for sure and they will be in our lives for years to come.
Best, Ron and Sarah

Brandon Hanna said...

Well said there, Brandon. I like the part about what you don't want to be seen as, because it seems to really shape what you are. Seriously. Did you ever do the Hopkins art fairs? There's a few that are still open and I was considering it. Never been to Hopkins myself.