About Painters

It doesn’t but I do.

About painters, at least young ones that I knew when I was young, or at least younger.

Frequently I had people from other media wonder/ask how the uncertainty of firing could be dealt with. I always found this question baffling. I could not always put it into words.

The uncertainty can be excitement. You can have certainty if that is what you want, or at least close to it. Test and measure until you are certain. Its not what I want from clay, but someone can. Life is uncertain, you are always balancing variables in everything, is the pan hot enough for the eggs not to stick or is the butter going to burn?

But all of this is prefaced on the idea that painters can visualize, fully comprehend, fully plan, fully understand, what their work will look like, how it will impact people, themselves, how it will stand. They work in a similar manner, and really have no idea until it is finished. They too have surprise. The too are orchestrating process.

Really though, the work is not finished until we are gone, and well after that. When someone uses your coffee cup or mug, or looks at your work anew, each time the work changes. It is not some fixed static entity when it comes from the kiln.

The classic example of this post firing manipulation of work is Old Teabowls, with records kept of who drank what and when, with stains, cracks, repairs, Kintsugi, thoughts, writings poetry. But it really is not different for any other object. Price is part of the work, What Rick Newby thinks about it becomes part of it, who bought it, what gallery, a thrift store?

There is nothing that does not add to the work, even if it seems to detract. I am not sure it is over if it is buried. Although if its been subducted, melted and extruded as new igneous material the relationship is getting a bit thin,