The Complexity of Artistic Inspiration

Idle hands make for an over active mind.  At least that is what I find anytime I am away from the studio for more than a few weeks. I have been away to focus on holiday sales prep, and a whole host of life details, including returning to school.  It’s just that time of year.

But I am still thinking about pots. Lately, I have been thinking about the difference between simple and complex pots.

The other day, I threw a large vase as a class demo.  Not having thrown in a while (and certainly not having thrown 9 pounds in a few months), I was happy with the vase.  A nice simple classical shape.  But it took all the restraint I had not to alter it (that wasn’t the point of the demo).


I find myself impressed with simple forms.  But it is a distance appreciation; like one admires a museum piece in a glass case.  I remember being in awe of a Brian Beam vase I saw at the Smithsonian Crafts Show this spring.  One single line of alteration made the entire vase echo calla lily. It was striking.

But no matter how moved I am by such forms, once my hands hit the clay, they are not satisfied with simplicity. No, my soul, through my hands, seek not the calla lily, but the embracing Easter lilies on our front stoop or the double centered antique rose from our backyard.


I get lost in the complexity of these flowers. I want to cradle them, bring them into my home and surround myself with them.  While I don’t desire to replicate the flowers in the way Khein Ceramics might, I am drawn to the complexity of their lines and shadows.  It is that complexity that finds it way into my own work.  When I return to the studio next month, I will take this self realization with me. I will be interested to see where this takes my work in its next progression.

What inspires you – simplicity or complexity?


About Claytastic

Health coach. Writer. Teacher. Artist. Living an amazing life with MS. Interested in bringing peace and beauty into people's lives.
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