Taking any length of time off from clay is difficult. I’ve been lucky throughout college, in that I’ve been able to work freely with clay under the best instruction–but only when I could squeeze a clay class into my otherwise busy schedule. Now that I’m graduating, I’ll be leaving the world of academia and entering into this real world everyone keeps talking about, and my love for clay could soon easily turn into a relic of the past. It’s going to require constant and thoughtful intention to keep myself in this practice.
I find the best way to stay motivated is to stay informed: of recent work, of working artists, and of local happenings in the art community. Pinterest is a great tool to get started. I can easily scroll through my home page and see an endless supply of beautiful work that I repin and store for later perusing.
I also enjoy frequenting farmers’ markets and craft fairs. Here, I get a chance to speak to each of the artists so I can understand their background, their process, and their love for art. I also am allowed to handle their work in a more personal way because they’re there to be touched and sold and loved. I can see how an artist handles things like balance, color, proportion, and clay body. I can feel the hours of work put into each piece. And I can get a better idea of how I can transfer that into my own work.
Most importantly, its important for me to engage in other artistic practices because this keeps my hands moving. It helps make my ideas more fluid so that, in future clay pursuits, I can easily transfer my mind to the medium.
Here is some of the clay work I’ve been looking at recently: