This last season has been all about creating something new – we have created a new studio space and a new website, besides creating actual artwork.  And here is the first entry of the new website’s blog!

Which brings me to thoughts about making something new where nothing previously existed. The wonder and the work of it.  How the excitement of the question “What if?” crashes into the yet unknown specifics of what is actually possible within the realm of reality.  Especially when you don’t know what you’re doing.

The new studio began with bold pencil sketches on graph paper, which then met with revisions imposed by physics at the hand of the structural engineer, and code requirements via the building department.  What we did not know at the beginning, we learned by the end.

glaze shelf wall - studs

(picture of wall with studs & insulation)

Bare Shelves

(picture of same wall with empty shelves up)

And so with the work of artwork.  The idea comes but, especially in the world of ceramics, it must pass through the rigor of the kiln firing.  Test the clay.  Test the glaze. A glaze recipe is nothing but a list of feldspars, oxides, and minerals.  To know the glaze’s actual color, opacity & gloss, the specific raw materials must be measured, mixed, screened and tested on test tiles (mine are bottles) and fired to temperature.  I record the results, so that I might learn from the melted failures and remember what actually worked.  Definitely a process of failing forward. As Pablo Picasso said, “I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”

failed glaze test


And so it will be with this blog.  I’ve written for decades, for my own forward process.  I think of writing as my way of finding hand holds, much like a rock climber finds a route up a pitch. A quote by Bobbie Ann Sullivan comes to mind: “I managed to steady myself, keeping my bearings by writing. I wrote short sentences on white paper. Some I taped to the front door so I would not fly into my future. Most I taped to the back door so I would not return to my past.”What will it take to turn an internal process into an external one?  I don’t yet know.  In doing so, I hope to find out.  I hope that you enjoy the journey with me.

{ Bobbie Ann Sullivan is an elderly lady living in the Redwoods in Northern California. My friend, Bill Mangrum, has been transcribing her journal entries for a year, putting some of them on Facebook.  If you would like to read more, here’s the link: }

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