Making Fewer

With my big switch to earthenware, I also decided to produce fewer kinds of pots than I was when making stoneware.  At first this was out of necessity.  I had so much new material to learn regarding glaze and decoration that I found it better just to make mostly bowls, cups, and plates.  The bowls and plates were simple canvases to decorate upon,  not as challenging as a jar or a pitcher to put an image on.   Cups were a small, necessary pot, that I could really experiment on over and over.

Becoming a decorator has been a challenge for me.  I feel like I had most of my general forms worked out.  But adding decoration to a pot that I had been allowing the salt kiln to decorate threw me for a loop.  So I just stopped making things that I couldn't figure out how to decorate.  As I learn the basics on cups, plates, bowls, jars and bakers, hopefully my skills will become refined so that I can apply them to other forms.

Cutting back has allowed me to focus on a core group pots.  Over the past six months  I have seen the forms improve.  After many years of indecision I have finally found a plate and bowl foot that I love and marries well to the overall pot.  Subtle changes in the angle that I use with a metal throwing rib give the pots a certain 'skin like' quality.  Focusing on the same kinds of pots over and over has allowed me to work out little details, lines and edges, that  got lost on some pots when I had a larger production.

My output has decreased only slightly; the quality of the pots have improved.  As time passes I may add more pots to the list and/or drop others.

I have always believed in doing one thing well and not getting bogged down in trying to 'do it all'.   It takes time and experimentation to find out what that one thing is.   I can see what needs attention in my pots more clearly now that I am making fewer forms.  Also, I need the time I would have been spending making pots to work on becoming a better decorator.  My glazing process has become more arduous too.

I feel I have reached a nice balance for now with the making.  My development is now on defining my drawings and glazes.  It's fun to be in a place where I feel comfortable, not freaked out, but still unsettled and reaching for new heights.