asked the MSATClayArt list what they would like to share with PCC since
I'm over here. One of the clayers suggested this Ramble about There is No
Such Thing as Garbage Clay. So for Esther, my darling here's your request.
Get a cup of coffee, this is one of my long rambles. +++
I want to rebuke the
myth that there is any such things as "failure" or "garbage clay". Both
are a waste of resources. First and most important resource is our good
mood. Nothing bums your high faster than feeling like a failure. It
makes women sad and make men's testerone fall through the floor in
negative numbers, which then bums out the women even more. Second
resource is our clay. Clay cost money, waste your money you waste the
time it took to get it to spend, that was your time, which is your
life....seems pretty serious to me. Ergo I am going to give you examples
of getting past the feeling of failure in claying and the perception
that there is any such thing as garbage clay.
Case in point: the ugly
face cane of my early days ( 1998- LOL) that got reduced to be the
veining inside of the Earth Elemental...
I had such high hopes for that ugly face cane. One doesn't start out on
a task with the intent of making other folks feel pity for them. "Poor
Nora-Jean. She can't clay worth a lick."
One wants to noodle
some clay and have people fall over and say "Wowsie", right? Well, I
literally wept when I made that ugly face cane. I threw myself on the
couch in a funk and thought long and hard about this new clay journey
and felt dejected and defeated. I put the ugly face cane away.
HeckFire..I HID that
cane, embarrassed at my crude work. When I was making the first
elemental as an experiment in the use of eyes and expression I needed
something to make some quick petals. I didn't want to have to condition
something new, I must have some "garbage" cane that was a "failure"
somewhere else that maybe if I just reduced it and made it into lace
cane and reduce again I can fake a few petals and get through this
eyeball experiment. I dug out the ugly face cane, delighted that I was
going to obliterate any trace of such crude and disappointing work. In
reducing it and making it into lace cane and then reducing that to a
petal size, it made nice movement and texture with color shifts, it was
subtle, because it had started out as a face after all. It all worked
That ugly face cane
wasn't a failure, it just wasn't fully manifest in its potential to be a
more complex cane. It just as easily could have been called into duty as
one of six disappointing canes used in a chop and toss or patch quilt
Second Case in Point: When I was doing ShoeBiz
I took some not so
interesting patch quilt cane and covered the box, it turned out
surprisingly acceptable. Knock me over with a feather. Then something
hit me. Just because that patch quilt cane didn't blow my skirt up that
didn't mean that it couldn't be used in conjunction with other things.
All the colors in the
patch quilt cane don't seem to bother the riot of StarGazerLilies or the
sliver-slice flowers that make the shoes and border decorations around
the bottom edge of the box.
I realized I shouldn't
judge an experiment by itself alone if it doesn't satisfy my
expectations. I shouldn't think that the first iteration of a cane or
stacked sheets is the end of the experiment is all. Maybe, just maybe,
taking it further would bring out some positive use. Everyone has made a
cane or a chevron or stacked sheets and was not pleased with the
We've all gone through
some learning process in mastering a technique. Do we allow this to be
perceived as a failure...no no no, never say failure.
Do we allow this to be
perceived as wasted garbage clay?...no no no never, there is no such
thing as wasted or garbage clay.
The patch quilt, the
sliver slice flowers, chop and toss were experiments made with cane or
stacked sheets that hadn't been taken to their most productive point is
all. Or it just needs to be used in conjunction with something else to
become part of an ensemble, like that not so interesting patch quilt
cane made a nice background on the paper mache box that had the legs
coming out of it in ShoeBiz.
So for those clayers
who have stumbled over the speed bump of perceived "failure" ...honey,
get over it. Take that experiment and do something else with it. Chop
and toss. Run thin through the pasta press backed in pearl and then
slice that and stack that and then run that through the pasta press
again backed in gold...who knows.
Just don't stand there
like a deer in the headlights because the headlight of failure is just a
perception that needs to be rooted out of the consciousness. It's all in
Anyway. Even when my
husband, the beloved, says, "Hmmm, boopie, that's not your best work." I
tell him it's a process not an event. I get over it, honey, I can tell
you. No Speedbumps for me.
Also, don't count the
steps. Like climbing a mountain, don't look down. Don't say...ok I got
to mix a mess of colors, condition it, make sheets and logs and then do
a hundredtwothreefourty steps...sheeeesh. That too will get in your way.
Clay with a certain level of amnesia, you are seeking to please your
eye, to enable you to express something larger than words can express,
so the amount of steps don't matter for it is in the journey that we
commune with our muse and the journey is sometimes more enjoyable than
arriving at the destination of a finished piece of art.
That's why artists keep
on producing stuff.
So there it is then....Get behind me Failure, Get behind me garbage
clay. I rebuke you and refuse to allow you to slow me down. ...Chant
that when you get stuck and it'll make you feel so silly that your mood
will improve. But you have to say it with flair, in a loud voice, with
arms waving around in grand gestures, got to pump up the silly factor to
have this chant work. LOL I'm laughing so hard, because I was sharing
that with Joy and she was eating something when I was throwing my arms
about. LOL xoxo Nora-full of herself-Jean +++
Oh Esther was right,
this sermon got me charged up. And I wrote the danged thing. LOL Be of
good cheer, don't let the learning curve get you down. Clayers are a
happy bunch, just keep mucking about and you'll get happy too.
Love ya, Mean it
(that's so Calfornian)