What do people need so many rules? Especially artists? Are we supposed to be the ones who are allowed to think beyond convention?
Ok, sure. Don't poke your studio mate with an Exacto knife. That's a good one. Don't drink the glaze. Don't mess with any body's else's art... EVER. Good rules.
My daughter has an art teacher who is constantly telling her that she's doing something wrong. Don't use that color. This element belongs over here. If you shape the ears like this it'll look better. Apparently this teacher believes that every project in the class should look the same. Talk about sucking the life out of learning! How many kids in THAT class will need therapy during college?
Art should be about expressing and experimenting and creating. Rules? Bah!
My dear friend and amazing sculptor Ilene, an MFA candidate, is preparing five pieces for a crit. Working in concrete, she needs to make some plates as part of a much larger piece. She could use a mold, but she wants them to look thrown -- more organic, more natural. She asks: can I throw concrete on a wheel?
I need a new plate rib though, so she heads to our friendly neighborhood clay retail studio. She tells them what we're planning. You can't do that!
Oh please. It's my favorite thing to hear. Tell me I can't do something and I'll find a way. It's not that I'm stubborn or obstinate (HEY! I saw those eyes roll!!!), but I love finding new ways to do things. Actually, I love working with new media, seeing what can be done.
We humans tend to put people in little boxes: he's a lawyer, she's a soccer mom, they're gay. The assumptions build from there. Most people are so much more. Can't we be more than one thing? Can't artists work in more than one medium?
So we threw the concrete. We took a more experienced potter's suggestion to throw a plate of clay first. After drying it in the sun for a couple of hours (it didn't even crack! How did that not happen!) we poured in the concrete and threw! She made me wear gloves and I HATED that sensation. I need to feel the texture of the medium on the wheel. I was pretty sure my skin would grow back.
Ilene emailed me this morning that one of the two we threw turned out beautiful! One was a little thin and cracked. We learn. We do it again.
See, you CAN do that!