I read about this artist who makes all kinds of crap for his house – sculptures, paintings, textiles. And though I didn’t really like any of his stuff, that was beside the point. This guy sat surrounded by a dozen projects in various states of becoming. He had the gift of compulsion.
Compulsion is a beautiful thing, provided it’s not for drinking, drugs or something else that will get you arrested, killed, or thrown out of public office. To feel compelled to take that photo, paint that picture, play that piece, puts you, temporarily at any rate, at one with the physical universe.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t born with the do-something-safe-with-your-hands gene. I’ve tried. The latest venture at oneness has been through ceramics. I may retire that smock in the near future.
Take my nude. My neeeeeuwd. We have a couple of problems here. One is shape, the other color. Let’s deal with shape first.
As a nude, you might notice a distinct lack of naughty bits. All I can say is, she lost them along the way. In the beginning there were plenty, but they kept pointing in wrong directions and I eventually obscured them in a series of corrections. Next, she appears to be sitting on half a rock, whereas the original intention had been to recline on a large soft cushion. And finally, her legs are pocked and nicked all over the place, indicating a medical problem of either a dietary or vascular nature. (We won’t even discuss what she could possibly be doing with her hands.)
Now let’s talk color. She’s blue. Was she holding her breath? Was the room too cold? Was I (gasp) taking a stab at creativity? No, blue indicates a glazing error -- strawberry creek over copper red purple, rather than the other way around.
As a result of shape and color choices, my nude now looks suited up for her next diving lesson.
Results might have been different had I consented to learn the basics. But no, I charged straight from the first lump of clay headlong into Batchelder tiles.
My teacher loves me because I make him laugh with basket weave bowls that look like pies. A ghastly pink sushi platter that looks like a dead tuna. Tiles painted in wedding cake icing because I used opaque white instead of clear.
So if I hang up this beret, what now? What next? What’s left to keep my hands off the streets? Sam Maloof has always held an attraction for me. A rocking chair – how hard could that possibly be?