Sunday, February 12, 2017

I Think I Can...

The novel I'm working on right now (most often working on, since I always have at least a couple in progress) deals with a clay artist. The problem with writing books about different arts in different places is that I always want to do that kind of art and go to those places. Not exactly a problem, but, well, all different forms of art take different skills and techniques, not to mention the time factor. Yes, some of your learned techniques will carry over, but basically, you're starting back at the beginning with each new art form.

The photo above shows a failed attempt at a basket weave project.

Yes, I've been working with clay while working on the novel -- okay, not at the same time since my keyboard would be unhappy -- and so far it's more support research for the story than anything approaching actual art.

Back in high school, our art teacher was wonderful about instruction (real instruction, not just try this and see what happens) in different media. Thank you, Ms. Kruzan! I learned a heck of a lot in those four years, even though I'd already had a good bit of art training via relatives. One of the things I loved most was working on the wheel. We had very limited time with it and I came up with a very small uneven little bowl, but I loved that little bowl for the memory of playing with the wet clay on the wheel.

In college, I took a ceramics class and was excited about getting my hands dirty and creating vases and bowls and such. However, the young male professor was too focused on his pet students and the rest of us were just there and he made me very uncomfortable. Plus, we never got to use the wheel. It was all hand work. The wheel was ceramics 2 which I didn't take because of the teacher. I do still have the vase I made using coils.

Fast forward....  So I'm writing about a bipolar artist who uses clay as therapy, as something she can control and keep to herself. It has seriously refueled my interest in pottery. When a local winter fest advertised a local potter would be demonstrating Raku Firing for pottery in which you do not need a kiln to turn dry clay into ceramics. I couldn't turn that down. Yesterday I got all geared up to actually talk to him about it and hubby and I took off to the park, only to find out it wasn't yesterday. It was today. But today it's rained all day and the Firing was cancelled. Kind of hard to burn wood in rain. Sigh.

Never mind, I figured. I'll just do more experimenting myself. Well, that turned out a huge failure because the strips I so carefully measured and cut and covered in plastic started to dry as soon as I started to use them and they broke right off. Hm. That's okay, as Holli would say. It's just clay and I can start again.

I don't have a wheel, but that may come soon, after I've had more time for handwork in order to get the feel of the clay and it's intricacies. It's actually not a failure unless you give up, and I haven't. I'm keeping that clay wet and will go at it again, maybe after a bit more research.

If you're interested, I do have a Pinterest board for the story in progress with plenty of examples of gorgeous clay work done by those who know what they're doing. And hubby and I are talking about going to take a 6-week class with the potter who was going to do the firing today. You never know, I may have to revisit the clay art in a future book.

Shadows of Rust & Reels Pinterest board

Watch for a video trailer to come, not made by me.

(The little painting below was done by me and will be a puzzle once hubby gets to it.
This was and is one of my all-time favorite children's books.)

After all, attitude and determination define success every bit as much as any finished project. Everything takes practice...

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