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Green River Pottery santa fe new mexico

A magazine emailed me and said do you want to have a little article on your studio? if so, send us some images & writing…

Uh, okay, I thought. The writing part will be easy – I could more or less copy & paste from my daily journal, where I try to keep a record of what I’m doing with clay & in the studio. But pictures? Images. That could be harder.

Geil Kiln

I’m actually a little ambivalent about pictures being taken in the studio. I’m not a giant fan of all the process shots you see on Instagram although, admittedly, I have posted an occasional one of my own. Like GoPro footage of people running rapids in kayaks, after a while shots of throwing pots all look the same.

But it’s more than that that worried me I think. When you take a picture of the work you’re doing you’re giving it perspective – you’re looking at it – you’re separating yourself, saying I’m here and you’re over there. That kind of self-awareness is exactly what I’m trying to escape, a lot of the time, when working in clay.

Local stoneware clay

I want to be immersed – I want the work to come through me without my mind, my view, getting in the way.

On the other hand…it would be good to be in a magazine. 

I called a friend. Do you think maybe sometime next week…in the mornings the light might be best…could you come by & take a few shots?

Sure. My friend arrived, and took off his shoes, and took a look at the camera I had. I don’t know if you knew, he said, but I used to do some photography…

Sifting local stoneware clay

There’s always an element, seeing an image of yourself, of the horror you feel when hearing your voice on a recording. But there’s a bit of that anyway, just from unloading the kiln & encountering your own finished work – I made this. This is me – this is my own best effort. You have to get used to the feeling of exposure, on some level. My friend zoomed in for a lot of closeups – something I wouldn’t have thought of. Actually, after a while, getting to work, I forgot he was there at all.

throwing stoneware bowl

It’s still a little weird to look at the pictures. The studio is an environment I don’t want perspective on – I don’t want to see it through someone else’s lens – I don’t really want to see it at all, I just want to inhabit it. It has taken a long time to develop this space, both the physical dimension and the psychological one, the creative discipline that goes along with it.

Nevertheless. I picked out the best images and uploaded them to Google Drive.

Now the easy part – the writing. They’re gonna want me to keep it short, I thought, cleverly anticipating the editing process – I’m going to have to really pare it down, that’s what they’ll say, let’s shorten this up. I wrote a few pages & sent them off in a PDF…

Three muses in the background

A few days later they got back to me. Looks okay, they said. The pictures are alright but the copy is a little short – do you have anything else you could say?