I hope that you all stayed safe n sound this Easter! The weather was fairly horrendous for everybody heading out for the long weekend with gale force winds and torrential rain! However, Easter Sunday was magnificent here in Christchurch with a truly superb warm Autumn day. Sadly it is raining again today and I am loath to venture out to my studio to play with wet clay!
So instead I have opted for staying inside with a warm cuppa and my bevy of notebooks to do some homework in. I have just finished my accounts and I am wondering how small businesses survive the Tax department…but I am happy that I am able to eek out a living doing the things I love best…teaching and pottery…even better teaching pottery!
I have been thinking about the small business person and the necessity of multitasking. Whenever somebody says ‘I don’t know how you do it?’ I always nonchalantly reply with a shrug and smile. But the reality is I have spent many years making myself many caps to wear and I rely on all sorts of advice from other cleaver clogs who know more than me but who are willing to share. This is a major part of being in the creative industry and the term ‘Jack of all Trades’ comes up often to describe us small crafty business people.
When I look back over the last couple of years from going into business I realize that I have become a book keeper, advertising guru, more computer literate than most of us would wish to be (still don’t understand most of the gobildy gook though!), a negotiator, peace keeper, designer, sales person, contracts manager(most necessary if you want to be paid) a great PR…and a negligibly paid factory worker! God Lord…its no wonder I’m sometimes exhausted!
However, in saying this…being a crafts person with a business is about lifestyle choice. I can already see all the business advisers out there cringing about this statement. Horrified about my lackadaisical approach to wealth! I can’t help it! I am happy with very little and dream of a nice holiday once in a while like most.
Speaking of holidays I am about to plan a trip with my lovely sister to Europe. This is part of the fab prize from WOW last year. So I have been narrowing the list of ‘must sees’ when it comes to my ceramic infatuation.
A couple of the studios that I would really like to visit are Kirstie Van Noort’s in Holland and Kate Malone’s in England.
Kirstie Van Noort is a ceramic artist who took my interest early last year from her beautifully shaped vessels. She casts very simple shapes like flat plates with 1 inch sides and a straight sided tumbler. They are finished off in very subtle glazes. When I researched more about her I discovered that she was trained in casting porcelain ceramics and was inspired by the waste that this industry makes. She went to Cornwall to the big mineral mines to work with waste materials that the industry leaves behind. She discovered that for every 1 kilo of white porcelain there is 6 kilos of waste materials left behind in the mining landscape. So she created a project called 6:1 where she uses porcelain and waste material in the ratio of 6:1 parts to create her works. The results are amazing in the subtle tonal variations the left over minerals make to the porcelain body. There are the most beautiful images of her test tiles for experimenting with mixes of materials. In amongst all the material written about Kirstie I discovered that she had a self published book on her experiments in Cornwall. It was unavailable through any shops so I emailed Kirsten and was delighted when she replied and I purchased a book through her directly. I waited for a little over 2 weeks for it to arrive and have coveted it ever since! She inspired me to start making a proper go of glaze sampling. I love colour in all its subtle variations and thought it was about time I worked out how to do this using ceramic materials. It was well worth it and now I have started my library of index colour cards to refer to. Thank you Kirstie Van Noort!
Have a look at her video through Vimeo…I know that it is in Dutch…but it still makes for great watching. Yet another amazing studio that I wish was mine!
The other studio that I really want to visit is Kate Malone’s. I came across Kate Malone accidentally on Youtube one day. It is a little embarrassing to admit this as she is a giant in the world of ceramics! Afterwards, again after a little research, I discovered that there are very few contemporary ceramic books without reference to her. She makes the most fabulous heavily crystalline glazed pots based on nature and the natural vessel shape of the human body. Lots of her pots she refers to as being a feminine figure…I love this when she speaks about the pots…instead of saying ‘this pot is bla, bla, bla…’ she says ‘she is…’. Kate has been involved with the English pottery scene for many years and has many community installations to her name including her famous Pineapple pots. They are enormous and if I had paid more attention at Art School I would have remembered sooner that they were discussed in lectures! What I really enjoy about Kate is not only her marvelous touch when it comes to ceramics but her ability and desire to share with others information about process. I her video diary, that I have posted previously, she has awarm and informative manner and projects her excitement with the project to the viewers. I know I was hooked…I absolutely had to watch all the episodes immediately! I have emailed her for a DVD copy of her video diary and (again a sharing artist) she will let me know when one is available. Or maybe I can personally get one when I visit…yay!!!
So that’s it for the week…two artists who inspire me because of their ability to make beautiful meaningful ceramics and they way they are happy to share. Maybe this is what I love about the industry that I am in…creating meaningful objects for people and sharing a skill that I really rate!
Have a great week and I will catch up soon!
Tatyanna a.k.a The Busy Finch