When I signed up for this year's international ceramics festival I didn't even check who would be appearing. I was so disappointed in myself for missing it last time round that I just booked straight in as soon as bookings opened!
In the months between booking & attending I started having ideas about doing some more sculptural work, got inspired by the rock forms in my new local area, and then started reading about Eddie Curtis' new series of work inspired by an area known as the Blast. (You can see some photographs of the area on his website and you'll see why he found it such an inspiring experience!)
When the programme came through and I finally saw who would be at the festival imagine how lucky I felt to discover that Curtis would be there! I managed to see both of his live demonstrations, his slide talk and the temporary studio space where he was working as well as a selection of the newer finished pieces in the gallery. What a great immersion.
It was fascinating to see some of his working processes, the materials and tools, to hear him talk about his experience at the Blast and see more pictures of the site, and to be able to examine the finished pieces up close. He also talked about vessels vs sculpture and his experience of visiting ice caves and realising the mountains were also vessels with insdes very different to their outsides - plus the way in which a lid on a pot always encourages a visitor to stop and interact!
The thing that really made my weekend was being able to ask him about his creative process and how he developed from the initial inspiratory experience towards a finished piece (this is where I'd been having some trouble... I'm grateful that he felt able to be honest enough to say that initially he had no idea where he wanted to go with this new work, but he looked hard, thought about what interested him in the experience and how he could in some way evoke those processes in the studio - and then he messed about! Through that play some things had interesting results and others less so. By paying attention to the interesting results one piece of work would inspire the next and that process led to the work developing. When you look at the finished pieces it makes sense that he was fascinated by the unearthly colours and textures, layerings and contrasts at the Blast, but the pots are not in any way direct representations of it.
I had begun to reach a similar conclusion myself about how to develop the creative process that might lead towards some new work of my own, but it was confidence boosting to hear it from the mouth of a master.
Thank you for sharing Eddie!
PS. I wrote a long survey post about the festival but then the computer deleted it & I didn't have the heart to re-do it all. You can see most of the images in my Instagram feed. Sorry you miss out here, but feel free to email if you have burning questions and I'll be happy to respond!