18th of October 2013
The old elephant
In the last post I described the inspiration. I hang to it longer, because it struck me that someone looking from the outsight, might still have the question: how did she conclude, what the inspiration was?
How did it start? I certainly didn't just wake up with brilliant ideas for ceramics. I have been reading old notebooks from the beginning of my ceramic career. Been puzzled about sketches of teapots shaped like snowmen and elephants (- the trunk could be the spout funny!).
When I look a bit further, I was caught by the opportunities of the wheel. Constructed pots and work that dealt with asymmetry in the symmetric. I was attracted to objects that could interact and be move in relation to each other and forms that had something creature-like and human to them.
Among the sketches are notes. About ceramists who have forgotten the workmanship and are now incomprehensible artists. About potters, that doesn't develop their ideas. About the gritty art world that is undemocratic and exclusionary. Everyone gets a shot from the hip along the way.
I think it's interesting that although neither the understanding of art nor workmanship was present when I sketched an elephant teapot, I understand why the sketch is there. It contains humor, surprise and functionality. All at a low level, but nevertheless some of terms I work with now. But now I'm able to refine an idea, give it substance and carry it through. In the same way that my notes on art, design and crafts tells, that back then I also looked for my place and role.
The writer and poet Per Højholt has written about experience and talent in a text to the artist Erik Nyholm:
"Experience is not talent, talent is the ability to get around and go around your experience, to know when to use it and when it should be included in the general oblivion, from which it paradoxically can be retrieved by the right person. (...) The excellent will not just rise above the failures, but also point to it as its source."(1)
It's exciting that my work continues to evolve, but at the same time reassuring that I remember myself in the elephant and see it, in the things I do now.
The inspiration was formed in experience and immersion - therefore it will continue to grow.
1: Per Højholt, from the article "With a lover's proficiency" in the catalog to Erik Nyholm exhibition "From sketch to finished work - a ceramic process", Køge Museum of Sketches, 1990-1991, DK, (my translation)