Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Farewell old friend...

Five months?!!  Must be a record.  I prefer to view the lapse in posting as the ever increasing time that passes between getting together with old friends, instead of...ya know, neglect.  

I've never really looked at my pots as precious, and while I hold back a few pieces here and there I've never had the desire to hang on to my own pots.  Make em, fire em, sell em.  Repeat.  In fact I have very little to show for the last ten years.  I spent today sorting and packing pots for the last shows and orders of the year and I had a really difficult time letting some of the work go.  I know why, my relationship with woodfiring will be coming to an end this month.  I want to hold on to them because there might not be anymore, maybe just for a year or two, or maybe forever.

As potters sometimes our identities can become wrapped up in the way we work.  I'm not just Brandon the potter, I'm Brandon the woodfire potter.  I think it's fairly safe to say that people identify me with a specific type of work.  We could argue ad nauseum whether or not it's healthy to be synonymous with your job, but regardless, it's the way it is.  I think most potters might understand where I'm coming from.  I've spent a third of my life so far completely immersed, in love, first thought in the morning, last thought at night kind of obsessed with this process and it's hard to wake up one day and not feel that passion anymore.  I may sound a little melodramatic but as a craftsman there's a bit of my soul tied up in that kiln and it's hard to let it go even when you know it's the right thing to do.  I'm trying not to make this sound too analogous to a relationship but really, that's what it is.  We're not happy together anymore and it's time for us to go our separate ways, maybe a short break is all that's needed, or maybe it's farewell for good, time will tell.  But it sure is fucking sad.

Time for a change.


Tracey Broome said...

Such a coincidence to read this today. I have been going through a bit of a break up this year with clay, and I have absolutely no idea why. Like you it used to be the first thing on my mind in the morning and the last thing at night, then..... Nothing. Today I was looking at the little jar I bought from you that sits beside another jar by Mackenzie Smith and feeling so envious of the beauty you both created in those pieces, and happy that I own them and use them everyday, also wishing I could make pottery like that, but knowing I never will and resigning myself to that. Today was the first day back working in my studio since March, I was sort of bored.
I suppose we change, we grow, life happens and we evolve. I know quite a few potters and artists that are experiencing similar changes with their work and their lives. This economy is changing what handmade craft is for me, I'm afraid. But change can be good. I hope it will be for you! Nice to see a blog post from you anyway!

Scott K Roberts said...

I have always thought of you as Brandon "The Damn Fine" Potter, change is good.

Colleen said...

You really need to keep a few of those pots.
Colleen( ladyofclay)

klineola said...

Why have you come to this conclusion? Is there another kiln?

John Bauman said...

Thoughtful post. Thanks.

"Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone"

I'm facing changes not of my own choosing. Losing my identity -- and I'm not conflicted about that identity. I love it. Loved it.

But I understand that choices mean changes. Some of them are great. We don't always see that going in. Or exiting.

I hope you find the change rewarding.

Anonymous said...

Not to worry. You will bring the depth of understanding you acquired from wood firing to whatever ceramic process you fall upon next. I fired my pots in a wood burning kiln for a decade and at some point I just "knew" it was over. No regrets. All identities are comfortable traps. Even if the work involved in maintaining the identity is grueling.

Jim Lane