I recently spent a weekend hosting and working with Linda Arbuckle....and what an unexpectedly inspiring experience.
On our way to the airport after a great weekend, I admitted to Linda that initially I was looking forward to seeing her work and learning her techniques, but had not expected my time with her to be as impacting and influential as it had been.
I, a potter, who focuses on woodfired and soda fired pottery, was not as familiar with her work and her techniques used for Majolica. I love color as well, but on my pots I prefer to keep the subtle natural tones that I am able to achieve through the firing process and clay body.
My first day in the workshop and speaking with her overwhelmed me completely and I found myself asking "why do I not use color on my pots? If everything else in my life has so much color...why not my pots as well?" It was a question I battled with for quite some time that day. I took on the workshop, yet I certainly didn't have the heart to jump into painting floral designs on my pots...but instead approached them in a similar way to that of my sketchbook and journal. Taking the colors and printing onto my pottery the way that I would print the acrylics onto the pages of my sketchbook.
My attempt to combine the printing techniques I use in my sketchbook with the technique of Majolica painting....
That night I went into my studio. I felt the need to be around my work and hopefully clear my mind a bit with all the great technique, color, and ideas that had overwhelmed me that day. Sitting and viewing my work put everything into perspective again. I was reminded that yes I love color, but I love a different type of color for my pots. There is something about the softness and subtle earthtones of a woodfired pot that bring me joy.
The next day I spoke a great deal with Linda about trying to combine my wood and soda fired work with my passion of painting. The possible use of flashing slips and stains to combine those two important parts of my art life. She provided me with so many great artists doing just that to help inspire me and lead me in the right direction!
To sum up my experience working with Linda, it was unexpectedly overwhelming and inspirational. My discussions with her continued as I came to the realization that I most likely would have never initially looked into taking a workshop with her. Why? Well because her work is so different from my own. Yet, in the end, what I gained from my time with Linda was the ability to get lost artistically in something new...only to later be reminded of what it is that I love and that sometimes leaving your level of comfort helps you grow and find yourself as an artist.
I needed that reminder and I needed that refreshment. Now, I look at artist's work that is similar to mine and others that are so very different and I know that they each have so much to offer me as a young artist. Different or similar...we all know and love clay.