Potters cleaning out studios

This Friday and Saturday our local potters' guild is having its annual Clearance and Shy of Perfect Sale.

Potters of the Comox Valley are clearing out their studios.

The frenzy of the holiday season has passed and potters now have time to reflect on what worked, what didn’t quite meet their goals and where they would like to take their art in the coming year.

Every artist and designer goes through a creative process. Potters are no different.

There are as many different approaches to creativity as there are artists. Some prefer to create spontaneously; some choose a more methodical approach.

Every artist, no matter how spontaneous or conscious, goes through four basic steps:

1) Idea generation;

2) Work, experimentation and testing;

3) Self, peer, or mentor evaluation;

4) Presentation.

Complete understanding of your medium is not necessary to create art. A basic understanding of the properties of your medium, clay to a potter, is all that is needed to get started.

Sometimes having only a basic understanding of the limitations of clay can lead to pushing the constraints. Beautiful creations can bloom from this process.

Experience can hem in the potter. Unless she or he is open to playing with and pushing the materials and methods there may not be any growth. To hone your artistic skills requires a lot of hard work.

Paradoxically through this trial and error the artist’s understanding of their medium grows and expands to a certain level. The downside of this experience can be rigidity and inhibition.

When an artist is able to shed those inhibitions and remain open and curious about their process a deeper exploration of their chosen field will develop. This exploration is not always successful.

There are many frustrations, small breakthroughs and epiphanies along the way. There are many times when an artist achieves a new level of competency, or a different style. As the artist grows in a new direction the old methods or styles are sometimes abandoned.

There are a multitude of facets of pottery, so many so, that a potter could work a life time and still be learning. Sometimes potters choose to focus on one type of firing, or forming technique for many years.

Then an opportunity arises to try something new, a spark is ignited and a new tangent is explored. During this exploration and experimentation every piece created may not be exactly what the potter is trying to achieve. It doesn’t mean this creation is not beautiful and will not completely fill someone’s aesthetic; it is just not what the potter was aiming for.

At the Comox Valley Potters Clearance Sale you will find the actualization of these stages of growth.

The pots that are formed from pushing limitations and being vulnerable enough to try something new can be beautiful and lead the potter on a new journey. Sometimes a potter needs to clear out items that simply don’t fit into their new style, or did not work out quite as expected, or are shy of perfect.

Check these pieces out at the Driftwood Mall on Feb. 14 and 15.

— Comox Valley Potters