Where am I and what is my name?

Our family moved 5 times in recent years, mainly because of our decision to move to the UK in 2007 and to return back home 4 years later. Two weeks ago, I unpacked our 109 boxes, again, (down from 233) and it dawned on me, that –  yes, I must be a pilgrim in the making. I don’t belong anywhere, I’m just traveling through. I have no time or reason to get puffed up over earthly treasures. So, keeping my eye on heaven, I want to fly a little, play on the mountain tops and soar above the mundane, tilt my head and look down at my pots and enjoy their fine forms, colours and subtleties, but also challenge those qualities to see what they could become.

I call them pots, but one day, maybe I would be able to call them chapters, because together they will tell my story. Below, without too much of a todo, I will evaluate them, as they are on the 21st of October 2015, then give myself some homework and make the rest of them.

The pots living on my shelves at home are:

Lara pot 11cm - stoneware

Lara pot 11cm – stoneware

Lara pot – What I like most about this pot, is how spontaneous the drawing is. Thereafter, I like the colours and the fact that the pot reflects the imperfections of being made by hand. But, all and all, it looks like an unfinished impression, it is not the haphazardness that bothers me, but rather the lack of technical skill to make appropriate haphazard glazes.

Three pots: 2014

L: Woman with myrr M: Daisies R: Fynbos

L: Woman with myrrh 18cm
M: Daisies 20cm
R: Fynbos 19cm

The 2 pots on the right, leave me a bit cold. The one on the left, woman with myrrh, is the one I like more. Perhaps because it is the only one that has meaningful content, to me.

My wild flower pot:

Wild flowers 2015 13cm - Porcelain

Wild flowers 2015 13cm – Porcelain

This is one of my favourites. These strange wild flowers are full of symbolism. The glossy glaze inside the pot contrasts well with the courser slips and unpainted surface on the outside of the pot. The form is also a bit unusual.

My daughter pot:

My daughter pot - Stoneware 14cm

Daughter pot – Stoneware 14cm

The daughter pot is done on stoneware and I like the contrast of white picket fence against the unglazed rough creamy surface of the stoneware clay. I was looking back when she 11 years old, now that she has left for varsity in the Cape.

A revisit of Millet’s sower:

Porcelain vase 14 x 18cm, June 2015

Porcelain vase 14 x 18cm, June 2015

Here the hand of the sower is seen against a landscape with people walking in the background, as if to give support or offer mercy. So yes, I like the content. But, the glazes are not so good. The colours work but they are not well made. More research into glazes etc. are needed here.

Experimental cylinder thown on the wheel:

Abstract lines 17cm

This was one of my first cylinders thrown on the wheel. I like the decoration of layered slips, but greater depth and variety needs to be explored. My wheel skills also need to be improved because I want to be able to throw large ones.

To summarize, I value the following attributes:

  1. Spontaneity
  2. Hand built imperfections – as if to give the pot a voice.
  3. Meaningful content – perhaps only to myself
  4. Unusual forms
  5. Layered slips
  6. Contrasting subtleties

Things to avoid:

  1. Lack of technical knowledge to express the outcome adequately. (Shabbiness only works if it what was required for the outcome.)
  2. Simply representing a theme, without interpreting it.
  3. Neglect to plan glaze outcomes
  4. Neglect to plan the inside of the pot

Todo list:

  1. Draw unusual forms that will provide me with a canvas
  2. Draw abstractly as well as what I would call interpretive drawings – like the mercy of Millet’s sower.
  3. Research glazes. Configure high fire base for glazes, crackle glazes, celadon, opaque glazes, satin matt and glossy glazes, etc.
  4. Explore layered slips and glazes.
  5. Contrast textures
  6. Contrast the inside and outside
  7. Contrast forms made from porcelain, stoneware and dark clays
  8. Contrast hand built and wheel thrown work
  9. Contrast toxic versus non toxic glazes
  10. Contrast toxic colours versus ‘friendly’ colours

In many ways the items on my todo list run concurrently, but at least it will provide me with some sense of structure and a check list.

 

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About Charleen Brunke

Ceramic Artist
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