It’s February 2012, the grass needs cutting already, the Ash tree is budding out, flowers are blooming, and it may snow tomorrow. After a serious summer, it’s a pretty nice winter. I’m just back from a week at Conner Burn’s studio in Natchez Mississippi. Had a wonderful time working with Conner, Lynn Smiser Bowers, and Steve Hasslock. Great clay and great food.
AUGUST 2011 – IT’S A BRUTAL SUMMER, MANY DAYS OVER 100 DEGREES BUT WE ARE MOVING FORWARD. TY AND I JUST FINISHED A BEAUTIFUL FRONT PORCH FOR THE ART CENTER AND I HAVE COMPLETED A COUPLE OF LARGE SCULPTURES .
I had the privilige of watching two great potters, Max Butler and Carl Block, in action awhile back at a workshop at South Texas College in McAllen, Texas. The workshop was hosted by Cris Leonard, the ceramics instructor there. I came home very inspired and went right to work. Here are a few photos of the workshop and the work I have done since my return.
These platters are wheel thrown, about 18″ diameter covered with white slip and cut decoration. This
has been one of my favorite decoration techniques through the years and it sure is fun to return to this way of working.
A FEW THOUGHTS ON HAPPINESS.
Happiness and Creativity
When are you happy? What are you doing when you are content, at peace with yourself and the world, smiling, and maybe even laughing? Recent research suggests that happiness doesn’t often come from having wealth, fame, or a great deal of possessions. Contentment is not necessarily found on vacation or the weekend but is instead best experienced when one is engaged in a project. Happiness is often found in everyday tasks – cooking, gardening, building a fence or a dog house – even mowing the yard! The noted psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, in his book “Flow – The Psychology of Optimal Experience” found that when people reflect on how it feels when their experience is most positive, they mention at least one, and often all of the following eight components of enjoyment.
“First, the experience usually occurs when we confront tasks we have a chance of completing.
Second, we must be able to concentrate on what we are doing.
Third and Fourth, the concentration is usually possible because the task undertaken has clear goals and provides immediate feedback.
Fifth, one acts with a deep but effortless involvement that removes from awareness the worries and frustrations of everyday life.
Sixth, enjoyable experiences allow people to exercise a sense of control over their actions.
Seventh, concern for the self disappears, yet the sense of self emerges stronger after the flow experience is over.
Finally, the sense of the duration of time is altered; hours pass by in minutes, and minutes can stretch out to seem like hours. The combination of all these elements causes a sense of deep enjoyment that is so rewarding people feel that expending a great deal of energy is worthwhile simply to be able to feel it.”
As we can see from this list, when a challenge is present and our skills are equal to the task, we are at our best and find enjoyment. When skills are too high for the challenge we are often bored, and when the challenge is too much for our skills, we feel anxious and ill at ease. When skills and challenges are matched up we are in the “Flow”!
Eye of the Dog Art Center provides a judgment free, relaxed, and exciting space to learn new skills and explore the world of creativity. Located just 5 miles from Aquareena Springs, we have been hosting workshops and classes for twenty years. This spring you can choose from a variety of offerings for all skill levels. Take your choice – sculpture, pottery, jewelery, welding, tie dye, collage and much more. Come for a day, a weekend, or a week. Our experienced instructors design their classes to get you into the flow of creativity as quickly and easily as possible. Great teachers combined with the company of other like-minded people, good food, and a relaxed atmosphere, make Eye of the Dog Art Center a special place in the heart of Texas.
November 22, 2010 We’re getting ready for our big Holiday Show that comes this Friday. This is at least our 22nd show but for me it’s maybe 36 or so. It’s going to be great this year. We have been practicing for this show for many years, it just gets better each year as it should. Ponty Bone! I love that man’s sound and his soulfulness. He’s the real deal, a “real person” as Carl Block would say.
This is the first year we’ve had the new building with wonderful bathrooms, space, etc. We’re having some people show there to share the wonderful energy of the big room. I’m arranging it to best give a viewer a good overview of how the space feels. Feel, key word. When it’s a clay studio it feels a certain way – several depending on whether the energy is wheel throwing, big clay, silk screen, etc. It felt a certain way when we had the church meeting, the Ike and Danise supper club, the salsa contest, etc. It will feel a certain way with Jess/Jamie, Gery, Diana, Linda, Eye of the Dog, and Sink Creek in there.