When I was still in school, I did a lot of very intricate, heavily carved pieces. They took forever, but my professor liked them and encouraged me to continue making them, and everyone liked those pieces best, it seemed. So of course, as soon as I graduated, I decided I was burnt out on carving my stuff. "Fuck carving!" I said to myself. "I'm a rebel! I won't be tied down to any one process! I'm not gonna make stuff just because other people like it!" And I jumped up and down and made childish faces and crossed my arms firmly and grumpily.
I knew I needed to stop spending so much time on single pieces and improve my throwing by making lots of quick things. I'm glad I did that, because I think I've learned a lot in the past year. I'm certainly much better at making mugs with handles that don't crack off when they dry. But I really haven't made a lot of "fine art" pieces since graduation. (Whatever that means).
About a month ago, one of my friends and former classmates commented on how she didn't have the patience to do the kind of intensive, intricate work I did on my pieces. My response was "Oh, I don't do that kind of stuff anymore. I just did it to please Mark (my somewhat terrifying professor/head of the Ceramics Dept)." Which I realized soon after I said it was an outright lie.
I remembered I had started carving on my pieces originally because I was taking block printing at the time, and I found carving the block of linoleum rather soothing. Once I'd drawn out my design, I would sit and carve out all these little swirls and details, and my brain could just kind of zone out and float around, daydreaming and thinking of new ideas for artwork. It was really kind of ideal, and I was happy to bring a similar process to my porcelain pieces. I had even started to incorporate print making into my ceramics with various different processes, and I was excited to be carrying a dialogue back and forth between the two bodies of work - my prints and my ceramics. After graduation, I let both print making and carving fall by the wayside. Both processes were too time consuming and labor intensive, and I needed to start making work to sell.
When I got home that night, I took a bone dry bottle I'd thrown the previous week and began carving on it. Then I took a pitcher and carved it as well. I painted on them both, and made them into a set. Then yesterday evening I grabbed a blank tile I'd made and never did anything with, drew on it in pencil, and started carving it.
My friend was like "You just told me the other day you didn't do carving anymore! Yay!" "Yeah, lol, I guess I did." I'm happy to be doing it again.
At least until I get bored with it, anyway. Or people like it too much and I feel a childish need to rebel.