Today was a successful day for harvesting branches! Apparently many people thought it would be good to trim or even cut some trees down, leaving bundles of brush and limbs on the side of the road for someone else to collect. This is my version of using "reclaimed wood", which is currently a popular theme in many design industries. At the end of the day I was able to collect an assortment of 40 to 50 branches varying in size, length, and construction. With such a variety I will be able to test many fusions to ceramic forms.
There is a personal barrier when it comes to working within the tradition of a craft as it collides with your ever growing creative nature. For me, this all started when I chose to learn the craft of traditional basket weaving for three years. Feels like a lifetime ago. As I return to this tradition I have seen the changes in how I am approaching weaving itself. This capacity to communicate through artistic expression as all been possible because of ceramics.
Not so long after those years of weaving, I declared myself as a ceramics concentration major. If I could live this life over I would have still made that decision. Working with ceramics I am constantly being challenged by the very material. It beckons me to learn from it and in a very soft voice, that many either can't hear or choose not to, it says "help me grow from the tradition I was born into. I wish not to abandon my roots, however if am a a descendant I deserve my own voice".
Growing in the language of ceramics I looked back to those traditional weaving years and asked myself, could the materials I use for baskets be saying the exact same thing? Turns out that voice was right. I have come to this conclusion over and over again by looking at some "unfinished" baskets in my room. I use the term unfinished because coming from someone who has been traditionally trained, it takes every bit of nerve to not tidy up the ends, pack down the rows, to stain or not to stain. Today, when I saw this "unfinished" basket I almost laughed at myself because there is so much beauty, growth, change and capacity within this piece. It has the relationship, the bridge between tradition and artistic interpretation. One is neither greater nor lesser, but they are unified within their occupied space.
The piece has spoken for itself. Hands off!