Monday, July 29, 2013

Of Pinterest

I am a recent Pinterest junkie. 

In a very short space of time I have created a long, and rapidly expanding, image scroll of ceramics I like. The stark difference in aesthetic between these images and my own work has me decidedly intrigued and I have allowed my interest to develop to nigh on obsessional proportions. The more I do the more questions arise about my own practise and what I see and sense when I look at pots.

I approached it all with an air of suspicion. I am well aware a piece can look better in an image than in real life and not handling the object means only getting half the story. Deciding to overlook these limitations I have been frantically clicking away, scratching the surface of a world of ceramics beyond my immediate reach. 

There is an undeniable promotional advantage to the site in the best possible sense. When an artist's name appears a few times in my pins I look them up to find out more about their work, background and practise and I have also created a pin board for my own work because you never know what might happen if you put it out there. But the main reason I have been using Pinterest is to look at pretty pictures and to keep a record of them for future inspiration. I used to cut and paste, now I pin.

I have stuck to some simple rules - I won't pin if the image is too small or out of focus - but have broken others - namely not pinning if the artist isn't credited. Some pieces I like too much to exclude on this basis.

It's all very immediate and I have to admit to enjoying the snap judgement. It feels sub conscious, a gut reaction. But every now and then I look back at my image collection and am surprised by the clearly defined aesthetic of my choices. I thought I was more ceramic-ly broad minded! And how odd that when I look at the board of my own work it appears so very different.

What do I look for in a pot?  I like pieces that appear assured and effortless. While admiring technically difficult or conceptually challenging pieces, they are not the ones I chose to pin  in my Ceramic Vessels board. I might pop them in my Inspiring Artworks category but my ceramic vessel board is reserved for pieces with which I would feel at home. Comfortable pieces with proportions that look right, forms resolved.

They are also pieces that encapsulate the making process. There is no denying they are clay, the malleability of the medium is evident, as is the maker's hand. I am drawn to the organic but not at the exclusion of refinement. And while not afraid of colour, the palette I like is gentle, enhancing rather than detracting or interfering with the beauty of the form.

There is a definite sense of nature in the works I have pinned. Clay is intrinsically of the earth and I like vessels that reflects this, not in an overt, replicating way but in subtle tones, marks and movements that add to the essence of the piece.

Other trends have appeared in my predilections - thick, buttery and textured glazes; rugged, raw clay bodies; soft, painterly slips. The core material often appears present in the finish, be it an exposed foot, a finger mark that has repelled the glaze or a dark clay body escaping the cover of glaze on rims and rises.

And apparently I am quite fond of faceting and fluting. Who knew?!

There are of course things that I did know that have simply been confirmed in all of this- my love of Lucie Rie's ceramics and Japanese minimalism. My appreciation of timeless, simple, organic shapes and natural colours. And my enjoyment of ceramic sculpture with a sense of humour and whimsy. 

The images in this post are just a few examples of what I have stumbled across in my ad hock journey through Pinterest realms, credited to the best of my abilities.

I don't know how long I will continue to pin or where it will take me. I'm not even sure that it's healthy for my creativity but it really is a whole lot of fun. And in my usual style I have turned it from a spontaneous, impulsive sense of play into an exercise for consideration. That can't be a bad thing... can it? 


Shannon Garson said...

I too have become a Pinterest junkie, it's so addictive isn't it? YOU are on one of my boards!

Rachel Cramer said...

Great post Sophie! I feel the same way about my ceramics board on pinterest and try to follow similar rules :)

Sophie Moran said...

Thanks Shannon, as you are on mine and Rachel, I will look you up!

Andrew said...

Pinterest is the visual diary I no longer loose; and it comes with new eye candy from colleagues.
So now I no longer have time or need to make the real thing...

Guru said...

Your thoughts and feelings are so similar to mine. I did plttery when I was 40 , am 75 now. Retired but with a restless mind -itching to get down to some simple ,inspiring pottery. Reflecting(somewhat) the beauty of nature and natural elements.!!!
Would love to get in touch with you.
Am at -