Thursday, April 5, 2012

Reflections on the drive home from the studio - Brooke Cassady

In general, when I think of the question,"Why make?" I immediately think of a personal need I have to work through an idea, see it physically realized, and take an active and engaged role in that realization.  If I were to come up with the idea and watch other people manifest it, I don't think I would feel as connected to the object, or the idea anymore.  However, having my hands involved in the actual making allows me to derive pleasure or satisfaction as the goal is met.  Partially, my hands simply need to feel the clay and watch it respond.  Watching others scrape away the excess at the rim of the mold gives me a sense of how it might feel, based on the way the slipcast clay absorbs or reflects lights off its wet surface, but I find I still need that tangible confirmation.  I also want my hands and my body to follow through the action of pouring slip into the mold or scraping the partially solidified clay off of the table.  It is the kinetic experience, the physical registration of movement and then the memory of that movement when I look at the end product of that effort.

Another thing that I began to recognize in that room, is there was a sense of rhythm in the movement that occurred between everyone.  It would be interesting to see how it would change if people were given distinct spaces or work areas, restricted to one specific task, with clear delineations between workers and processes.  I find it curious, because in some way, if it became more regimented, the flow could become more seamless, and the sense of rhythm could build within each individual's movement and the movement of the group as a whole could become tightly syncopated.  However, one thing that seemed to add to the sense of rhythm that I was experiencing, was almost an imperfect ebb and flow of workers assuming roles, then quickly switching to the next task that required a worker.  That organic development of a need arising and people being attentive to where those needs were, seemed to make the whole interaction feel more integrated, regardless of how graceful the execution. I noticed I was attentive to what I was working on, but I was also very conscious of how my movements might effect those around me in a somewhat tight space.  Having to intuit and respond to the movements of others made the interaction resonate a deeper sense of communal space and provoked a greater awareness of the physicality of other people.  

There is also the basic level of camaraderie that develops while collectively working towards a shared goal.  It is comforting and rewarding to take part in a group effort.  Each careful action I make within the process honors the work that went before me and is also conscious of the work that will follow.  In addition, having a reason to work alongside a stranger gives a reason for interaction, a simple excuse for starting conversation.  

One thing I question is how other collaborators feel about their involvement in this project with regards to the ambiguity of the next phase of life for these bowls.  To what extent do you feel compelled to know the end goal or result for these bowls once they are finished?  Would it be more motivating to know that they might be used to serve a particular function or is it enough to imagine the excitement of seeing all 1000 bowls, stacked or neatly displayed in one room.  There is something peaceful and simultaneously invigorating about the sheer joy and satisfaction that is derived from the repetition of a single round form.  We can already begin to experience that with tables and ware carts filled with bowls at various stages in the process. Does the air of mystery help to focus on the act of making itself, as opposed to getting lost in what the end result will look like, somehow keeping each worker focused on the present experience? 

1 comment:

  1. Personally, I think there is a simultaneous kindness and excitement in the ambiguity of the final phase of the work. Allowing intuition and pure process to guide the making in a natural, yet challenging way will only open up a broader dialogue, I would think.

    Today I heard, "what is going to happen to all of these bowls?" frequently--- I heard that question much less at the start of making last week. It seems that as we've begun to live in the tiny space with this mass of things, our questioning has progessed, as in our own studios at the completion of anything.