The magic and mystery of…..

art and the artisan.

Electric Kiln Firing

What comes out sometimes constitutes a mystery. Just ask any potter.

When I was a kid and the magician pulled the rabbit out of the hat I was too busy smiling and laughing at the wonder of that trick to care about how it was achieved and today for the most part I still feel the same when it comes to magic and art.

When I see works of art which mesmerises and captivates, I don’t want to know how it was achieved. What’s more important to me is not the technicality but the emotion that art elicits. To know is to dismiss that wonder and reduce it to the parts of its sum which I find mundane and uninspiring.

Don’t get me wrong I’m all for the dissemination of information and the sharing of expertise; but I can also understand the artist or artisan who is cagey about divulging their hard earned skills. I can empathise if they are made to ‘spill the beans’; because I’m certain that they have gone through some heartache and headache to tease apart the technicalities of their work and perfect it. Lets be clear – I’m not talking about skills inherent to an art/craft practice; I believe it is the duty of every artist to pass on this knowledge to as many interested people so that their craft does not fade away.

What I’m writing about is when you have an idea that you have either never seen before or seen done badly. You sweat, you try – fail – and try again; you don’t give up until the pieces start falling into place. Then (hopefully) you get to that moment of pure joy when it all comes together. That magic and mystery has been hard won and I for one would be reticent in asking an artist too many questions.

Without sounding too grand – working on a new concept is similar to going on quest. A journey into the unknown – exciting and frightening, in equal measures. It takes courage, skill, ingenuity and a good deal of perserverance to reach your destination. Once there you don’t necessary want to give the gps co-ordinates to anyone else and I can fully understand that sentiment.


About Elisa Bartels

A ceramic artist/designer and sporadic botanical dyer chatting and photographing the trials, tribulations and celebrations of being an artist who doesn't want to starve.
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