Production Pretending

Let’s be candid for a moment: As serious students under constant pressure from academia, sports, other extracurriculars, part time jobs, and so much more, who doesn’t want to go back to kindergarten every now and again? Instantly becoming best friends with the person next to you, a designated snack time, nap time – sounds ideal to me, but let’s not discount the awesome, nearly ritual, act of playing pretend. Every recess bell was the gunshot for an epic race toward what would become the fanciful setting for the afternoon’s adventure – a fortified castle or the most elegant of households for the hour; you could bet on us like race horses.

Lucky for me, I get to play a little pretend myself in the ceramics studio this semester, but this time it doesn’t involve slaying dragons and monsters from the top of my monkey bar fortress. I’m playing a more adult version of pretend (which adults just like to call practice); I am playing production potter, meaning its time to get serious about designing a line of products and cranking them out like they would in a factory.

One luxury of taking courses at Marywood is the invitation to take time to reflect on one’s inspirations and artistic direction to produce real fine art, work that is original and stems from the individual’s sensibilities, and work that speaks to the viewer time and time again, but in studying ceramics, one must realize that industry and production may need to come first. Now, that’s not to say that there aren’t profundities in making the same forms over and over again, and it is certainly not to say that there aren’t profundities in those pieces themselves. The pure fact that they are handmade objects with the individualizing mark of the artist is profound! But reality is it’s also work, and it can become mundane, and I’m facing that reality.

However, the monotony hasn’t settled in yet. With other courses that interrupt throwing time, the clay studio is still a wonderful haven to reside in, rhythmically bringing to life the next vessel that will (hopefully) give life to someone else.

With the dawn of this week, the process is underway. My professor has “blown the [start] whistle” so to speak and I’ve already met my self imposed quota on a handful of forms on my list, but more details are to follow next week.

As always, thanks for the read, and I’ll keep you posted!

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