I have been locked in a Police station every Saturday afternoon. The Old Police Station Lark Lane. For two years come rain or shine I have been there every week in a glazed brick cell……. And it’s by choice.
In the corner of, in winter, a freezing building armed only with a handful of muddy clay, with your hands in cold water. I have practised the art of throwing pots.
Sometimes being arrested would be more fun. The frustration can be devilish.
Then other times when things go well it seems worth the effort.
I understand having served an apprenticeship as a Carpenter (the best training anyone can get) the secret of perfecting anything you want to do, to a high standard, is to put the time in.
I was told a long time ago by old crusty blokes with beards, people I had been trained in various arts by, that “its 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration”.
But carpentry experience does not take into account, art.
John Parker who runs the Lark Lane Pottery looked at me with a wry grin when I proclaimed after a week or two that I was going to do an exhibition of my work, he had heard it all before.
“I want to make my clay look like metal, like work of a French Dinandier”
“Start small,” he would say as I threw pot after pot that were a mess over the months using tons of his precious clay.
But he allowed me to practise.
But I think my enthusiasm won him over and he let me practise and I recycle my own clay, which is a drain
Clay is a messy little bugger that gets right up your arms and all over you, so you look like you have been dragged through a lake backwards.
I wish I could talk to him now. I asked him, if he was inspired by Dinanderie and he said he was not aware of what it was.
The basic elements fire, earth and water are the most primitive of all needs.
They have a challenge that is hard to quantify. Why do you want to make a pot like an African? Why do you want to make a vessel in the Minoan style, what good is that. Why did the Ancient Greek want to turn a vessel for water or wine into a work of art, into an object of beauty and very often with a narrative?
Why did our ancestors paint the caves with their quarry What is the basic primeval instinct to create? To pit your self against your materials to achieve something that is more than the sum of its parts.