28,935 miles to a new form

KareKare Beach- West Coast of New Zealand- 5826 miles from Shanghai

Da Shang Cun Village near Binzhou, China- 467 miles from Shanghai

The view from my grandparents house in Salem, Virginia- 7513 miles from Shanghai

View from the St. Petersburg Pier building- 8077 miles from Shanghai (674 miles from Salem, Va)

I was looking through pictures today soaking in the enormity of my last three months. By the numbers I have traveled 28,935 miles by plane since February. Each trip was significant in its own way. North China was an eye opener (click here), New Zealand was an adventure (click here), Virginia was a much needed homecoming, and Florida was a chance to recharge with great art and good friends (click here).

Traveling creates a sense of spontaneity that nourishes the routine parts of my life. By nature I am a creature of habit and repetition. I thrive within a structure turning the "ruts" of life into fertile ground for developing ideas. It's no coincidence that I put patterns on my pots. In the studio I enjoy repeating forms, lines, scratches, and pokes. My best pots come when I first start a form (the naive beginners-luck stage) and when I know them so well they spring out of my fingers (the relaxed expert stage).

Being out of the studio for a few months has given me a fresh perspective on my routines and work. In the last two months the most continuous time I had in the studio was during workshops. This barely counts as studio time as it tends to be more performance oriented than experimental. I found myself staying well after the participants to work at night. This extra "play" time has been reaping benefits lately in the studio. I've touched clay every day since I returned to China. I'm working on new forms while rearranging a few old ones that needed a jump start.

This bud vase has gotten a lot of attention recently. (I made the one pictured last month in Wellington. Click here for WPA highlights) The form is a variation on a Yuan dynasty bottle that I saw in a book years ago. I'm excited about the potential for this heavy slip trailing. I've been laying it on thick to see how much the pot can take without cracking. I might have to deflocculate it a little to help the fit. I made a batch of ten that all have different proportions and slip patterns. I'll post more pictures as they develop.

Yuan Dynasty- Pear Shaped Bottle with Iron spots, Longquan Ware. 13th-14th Cent.

Check out Michael Kline's recent bottles. Great to see this form trickling down the pottery pipeline. The proportions  and lips change but a potters love for a big "hipped" bottled has lasted for more than 700 years.

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