Even the big boys have disappointments

Ontario Clay and Glass AssociationSeveral years ago, when I was *very* new to clay, I attended my very first clay conference.    It was really my first introduction to the clay community.  I remember it being a wonderful and unforgettable experience.  I got to try rakuing for the very first time at the preliminary workshop hosted by Ottawa Valley artist Leta Cormier in her, as I remember, extremely immaculate studio.  I also got to take part in my first mug exchange in which I remember receiving a lovely salt-glazed mug by potter Jackie Seaton.  My name was even drawn and I won some nice oriental brushes. But that was not all (and this was the pinnacle for me), John Leach, of  Muchelney Pottery, was the main presenter.  His pots were like nothing I had seen before (I told you I was new to clay) and I was impressed by what a real person he was … very gracious, generous, and down to earth. He left a lasting impression on me.

I recently discovered John’s brother Simon Leach has posted a series of videos on YouTube over the last year or so, showing demos, kilns, visits back to England and to friends’ studios, his philosophies, etc etc.  What I like is he presents things face on and shares his victories and disappointments, the good and the bad,  taking it all in stride.  I don’t think a lot of people are aware how hard it can be to be a potter and that things, quite beyond your control, can go extremely wrong after many, many hours of hard work, and all for naught.  Here is the 2nd of 2 of Simon’s videos taken while unloading Seth Cardew‘s kiln:

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3 Responses to “Even the big boys have disappointments”

  • cynthiaNo Gravatar Says:

    I really like Simon Leach’s videos! I spent an afternoon several months ago looking at nearly every single one.

    I think showing the good, bad and ugly is a good exercise for him and the public. I know I try to do that too – it’s not all smiles, sunshine and puppies in the studio. I recently had to throw in front of someone and I could not center for the life of me – I had stage fright to the extreme.

  • jcsceramicsNo Gravatar Says:

    Hi Anne,
    My first comment to a blogger; in the wonderful, frustrating, World of potting your words hit straight to the heart of all my anxieties of hours of work and thought and care to end, sometimes, probably most of the time not reaching the exacting vision of my concepts. But will never ever give up.
    I do love your style.
    Janie S

  • annewebbNo Gravatar Says:

    Pottery isn’t for sissies, that’s for sure! lol
    Humbling isn’t it?
    After something really disasterous happens, the last thing I feel like doing is come right out and announcing it to the world. It always feel better (especially after a night’s sleep) once I’m able to turn it around into something constructive and learn by it. Sometimes it takes me a bit to regroup but ..my skin is gradually getting thicker. The more lessons I learn, it seems, the thicker my skin gets.

    Have you had to do throwing demos very often Cynthia? It can be tough, but I think everyone should do it. Really forces you to think about what you’re doing and trains you to focus.

    Janie.. Well its true, isn’t it? Inevitably there will be things that don’t turn out ‘exactly’ like we envisioned. Sometimes that can be seredipitous though. Often times I have lived with a pot for a few days and found I liked it even better than what I was expecting.

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