I’m stuck in this ridiculously long making cycle. I have not really finished making any glazes so I keep on making and making. I probably have 75-80 pots ready to glaze and then to ultimately fire. I guess its not bad for my first real cycle. Every pot I throw gives me more experience, which is good. Once I have some glazes made up and tested I will be able to have a more reasonable cycle, probably 50 pieces made, bisque, ponder about how to glaze, eventually glaze, glaze fire and then done. Repeat.
Each cycle should focus on getting better at every aspect and out of that a rhythm should occur. Once the rhythm is in place you can play within that rhythm and experiment. I think that every cycle should have a few experimental pieces and every glaze fire load should have some glaze experiments in it as well. You just never know what you are going to get which is aggravating sometimes when you have expectations but also exhilarating at the same time. I had no idea that iron oxide sprinkled on the glaze would have these shadowy dark brown halos, or that rutile would come out with this wonderful metallic golden orange, or that the 2 white glazes I was testing would come out so warm.
Art takes rhythm. Ceramics is no exception and probably needs it moreso than the majority of other art forms. It is especially slow paced and the process from beginning to end to create a piece can be weeks to months depending on firing schedules. Not to mention that it can take years before you truly master your materials. Testing glazes alone will take me many months to complete.
The rhythm with ceramics tends to go at “life pace”. Most of us hold down full time jobs, have families and other obligations to attend to before working on our own projects. It seems that it falls into a slow seasonal rhythm spanning years and this is something that I do not mind.
Winter is spent mostly indoors for me so I tend to work on pinched vessels and things that I can do away from the wheel. Spring is a time for re-invigoration, cleaning the mental clutter and getting back on the wheel. Summer is hot and with that comes the long days and trying to tighten up with routines. Fall is a magical time where I feel the most creative and bold. We’ll see how it goes over the years and how it gets more integrated with life until the goal of life being pottery and pottery being life comes about.
Here is a nice video on Establishing Rhythm with Dionne Swift. While not specifically a pottery video the core concepts span across mediums.