Productivity is amazingly important to art and to creating a new business, but there is no way to be “on” all the time. The last couple of days in the studio we have been taking things nice and slow. Taking care of things on the farm, taking care of family and chatting a bit. Gabe also dedicated a day to a drawing on his desk, he calls this a doodle… He’s planning to wipe it off this week.
I’m including this here because I think it says something fundamental about art. Working in ceramic, we art merchants of permanence in a way. The work will surely break one day, but those pieces have the potential to outlast our culture. It can be daunting and for me at least gives a responsibility to be a fairly strict self editor.
Considering the Woman of Dolni Vestonice, it becomes clear why.
This tiny ceramic object (about 4 inches high) is among the first ceramic objects in the world. Made around 26,000 BP, she was excavated in a site in Eastern Europe and is a symbol for western prehistoric culture. Much of what we know about her is speculation, because she has outlived nearly every other trace of culture from the area where she was found.
So then what about a day spent on work never intended to last? One of the things I love most about this drawing is its placement on the old desk. The scared paint comes through the graphite and adds a layer of thought and possibility that is often lost in a drawing on paper. And what about preplanning? This is speculation of course but I imagine that this work was not fully conceived when he began, more like a jazz composition than a concerto. So that as the piece developed he was able to add detail that seemed interesting at the time, but was under no pressure to make something that he would have to look at for the rest of his life. (This blog post defeats that a bit, sorry)
Another point that I think is relevant to make here is his effort and concentration on this work. Truly, Gabe is good at what he does and has spent years practicing his skills in drawing, so it may be overstating things to say he went all out, but he certainly didn’t go half way here. This impermanent thing got his full attention that day. This is why this desk doodle deserves this attention. What did this exercise serve? Who knows, maybe nothing will come of it, but we never really know. So often our best ideas and greatest accomplishments come from a little down time.
We did have a bit of production though. These bits are from the last firing, you will notice the black spots here . These are achieved by using an iron oxide bearing spray paint. We are still in the testing phase here, but can see a great potential. The next step is to see how they decal.