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production work maddddddddd

updated tue 4 jul 00


David Woof on mon 3 jul 00

There is a meditative serenity in familiar forms as they flow from one's
We had a good response in the postings, a wide range of cope strategies.
Some seem to express production work as drudgery, others truly enjoy and i'm
sure their work reflects that joy. lively interesting, reflecting a creative
From some of the postings I got the sense that while some even see it as
factory work and produce a good serviceable product while not presuming to
call themselves artists, they have made this a matter of choice, of loving
clay, the process, and the life style enough to stick with it over other
kinds of assembly work.
However some do it and complain while doing it, no doubt half heartedly and
subsequently badly.
to these i say, why? we all have choices and consequences? if the
consequences are distasteful make a new choice, change attitude or go get a
steady job some where else.
these are some of the thoughts i get from these postings and when i rub
elbows with fellow potters, clay artists,artisans, clay
art fairs.

the originator of this current thread asks a good question, "can i still be
creative if i do production work?"
here lies the heart of the scitoma many seem to have re repetitive
is "creative" the sole domain of the "one of a kind "artists"?
seems that the real enduring racers and keepers come out of inquiry and
fasination with the medium when we least expect such a blessing. much of the
"one of a kind "stuff out here self consciously screams " I was made to be
ART" kinda like Humble, as soon as we say we are, we aren't. if one is
creative and values that gift one will creatively find a way to preserve
it,the way to preserve it is to use it, the more so in situations of duress,
a lot was said in these postings about the ways people do just that. for
me the thinking behind the action determines much.
i make a certain amount of repeat mugs, bowls and other "utilitarian ware"
in forms i enjoy and people praise as they buy. no compromise here, i make
what i wish and good pots always sell. the intrigue for me that carries me
through a production run is that there is always the potential improvement
in form, in technique and efficiency, in new glaze and surface treatment and
this keeps the form alive and my spirit with it. as my hands settle into the
form my conscious mind can turn some of this task over to the subconscious
and in this altered timeless state between awake and dreaming, wonderful
creative things happen.

i turn down most outside production offers , though i make just as many of
my own in a production series. unless someone's idea intrigues me i refer
those production jobs to others. i struggled with this in years past and
came to understand that there is no financial security in a regular
production commission if it eats away at me and consumes time i could be
making other equally saleable and more enjoyable pots.
i think of my production work also as the discipline and rehearsal of the
physical clay vocabulary just as an orator, musician or martial artist, to
name a few, practice and practice till the forms and movements are not bound
by labored consciousness but flow thru one in a lightness, a joy. where one
is spectator as well as participant/ performer, so too at the wheel when it
all flows. the discipline has been rewarded, the dues have been paid, it's
freeflight time and when i get an idea for a "one of a kind" i find my hand
connected to mind and heart and as someone else said in this thread, i too
usually take that idea into a short series while i play with the idea and
the form. watching it develop and refine in ways beyond my initial

glad to see the support for the wise woman in the Mohave. let's keep her,
she's a good one.

I move to clarkdale,Az. next week, need some input on materials suppliers
out there, thanks.

David, slogging thru all this wisconsin green in 94% humidity one last time.
what doesn't make us tough kills us.

David Woof
Earth and Fire Studios
Fax: 413-812-6395

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