Sat May 16

I decorated six mugs today. It took most of the day, which in hind site seems ridiculously slow. I have taken the challenge to design my surfaces on paper first so that each piece has a definite composition. This premeditated design is new for me. Until now I have been what you call an intuitive decorator. I always tried to do what I thought other potters meant when they said, "Look at each pot and see what that pot needs." This on the spot method of decoration has created some nice looking pots but it left me unaware of why I was making some of the design decisions I made. I would literally get done decorating at the end of the day and not be able to explain what I was trying to do with the decoration. When asked, what does this decoration do on this form, I have been known to answer "ah...um...decorate it?"

I spent three days this week in my studio only sketching. By sketching I mean designing my 2d spaces on paper, not designing the pots by drawing contour sketches. I already had 3d forms that I was designing for so all I had to do was plot out space. It was surprisingly hard, but not because the process was complicated. There is nothing complicated about crayons, color pencils and newsprint. It was hard because I love clay. Anytime I spend in my studio not touching clays feels like I'm cheating on my high school sweat heart. I have to get over this because I know sketching can be a great tool. Kind of like suicide sprints minus the sweat.
So after three days I have many, many, 2 x 3 ft pieces of newsprint filled with full scale sketches. Im posting pics to show what Ive been up to. If you look at the group mug shot you can see the same honeysuckle pattern that I developed in the sketches. The honeysuckle pattern has a lot of promise. I had to do honeysuckle because its blooming right now around Gainesville and it smells great!

This is one of my favorite new patterns. Its developed from a french roller print pattern that appears on page one of Susan Meller and Joost Elffer's seminal pattern book "Textile Designs:Two hundred years of European and American Patterns...yada yada yada.." Any body that is interested in pattern should definately check this book out. Its about $15 used on Amazon.

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