Home >> Essays 1995 essay
1995 essay
The artist at play.
What I like about what I do is that despite the frustrations and risks of self-employment I am engaged on a daily basis in activities and concerns that matter to me. I have, I tell myself, control over my own working life and if I feel like it's getting out of control I'm in a position to change that. It's not always easy answering to oneself but at least there is no question about whom I answer to ... at least as far as my work is concerned.

I've made my living since 1972 as a ... What? Object maker? Certainly as a ceramist but also making sculpture, architectural commissions from tables to fireplaces in a wide range of materials but chiefly in clay, cast and slumped glass and cast bronze. I thrive on experimentation, transformation by fire (raku, bronze and glass casting, saunas!) and the pursuit of creative ideas. I like challenges. I also seem to need the balance periodically that throwing and trimming provides to the chaos of my other creative pursuits.

My working life is always in flux. I used to think that once I'd found the formula for a successful career, found the groove, it would be easy sailing. Fat chance. I now realize this whole business is about flux and change and one's ability to adapt and be flexible with changing times and changing interests, not to mention ageing body parts. I've learned from some mistakes, sold others and seem to find some impossible to resist repeating frequently. I feel that if I'm not screwing up every now and then I'm not trying hard enough, not exposing myself to enough risk.

Seeking balance between all the disparate parts of work and life keeps me thoroughly engaged and forms a central theme for much of my work in recent years. Life as an object maker, vessel smith, balance seeker, mud-slinger, silica slumper... is great; I wouldn't have it any other way . . . most days.