Balnacra Arts & Pottery by Vicky Stonebridge

The Art of ignoring the asking.

June was all work work work. I was going a bit mad from it, you know when you get to that point where your sentences come out garbled, and when you are talking to people you’re not quite sure what is going on & you suspect you might be babbling? work work work, juggling lists and days and which day is this? what class is next, what time does this one end? did i eat lunch? Always 17 people at once, Vicky have you got, can you, will you, when is…. well something has to give. Firstly the term came to an end so, i get to spend more time during July & August based from home & the pop up pottery – ( the down side is the anxiety about earning enough, what’s new?). Then, the hard drive I store everything on for one particular job, the mostly unpaid job, the always everyday, 7 billion things to do job, the once where i can’t step out of the house without someone asking me how when why where, the one where i wake up at 3am and there’s a crowd of community people complaining about something inane at the foot of my bed job( slight exaggeration but, not much ), anyway that hard drive with all that work on, with no back-up’s because no-one with purse strings gets why digital information is important and why back up’s of back up’s are needed, That external hard drive broke, loosing ALL the data i’d worked on for years, diagrams, designs, templates, policies, constitutions, records, accounts, statistics, reports, archives, photos, films, letters, invoices, and on & on, all lost. So really, it was the last straw. All that work, just snuffed out, and what does it actually mean? I have to do all the work to recreate it from scratch? or , i take a step back and regain my sanity. So I went on strike for a week, and only actually worked for what I’m paid to work for. It took a day or two to clear my head of all the lists and planning and ideas. I had to practice stopping thinking about that job, and start thinking about my own projects, the pottery, artwork, the garden, antediluvian miniatures. It’s taking practice, I suppose I am a bit obbsessive in the attention to detail and wanting to do things right, So i need to learn how to shrugg off people’s “when are we? have we? what are we doing about?? “. I love how the royal “we” actually always means, “oy, YOU, Vicky, do things for me”. Someone asked me yesterday, where I learnt how to do websites, ? well, I needed to make a website to promote my work so I learnt how, myself. Often the people asking me to do things for them use the excuse ” oh but you’re good at that sort of thing”. I’m such a mug, learning skills I need then letting others exploit them, I wonder why I never learnt the art of just getting other people to do things for me instead? I suppose I could read Amanda Palmer’s ” The Art of asking ” , but I don’t really want to be an asker, it’s a bit creepy to me, I’d rather learn ” the art of telling people to do it themselves & let me get on with my stuff”. The other lesson I needed to learn this week was ignoring the snipey, negative e-mails, my inner PR person just jumps in with explanations, justifications, apologies and positive spin…wait a minute! why is it my role to receive people’s petty unpleasant little communications? nope. ” the Art of ignoring”. slowly learning. What a difference in a week! I can almost string sentences together, and certainly feel more creative. So easy to slip into bad habits, overwork, stress, being a doormat, taking on stuff that isn’t my stuff to take on. This is not who I am, not who I want to be!  It’s turning me all negative!

One of the wee children I work with, was telling me about how they do “checking in” at school. It’s a pretty nifty tool really ” hello, my name is Vicky and I’m a stress-o-holic, I’ve been saying No to peoples rubbish for a week now ” *applause*. I guess blogging is ‘checking in’ I find myself blogging between chapters, or before beginning a batch of creative work. Drawing the wee comics, was another way of ‘checking in’ “hello my name is Vicky, and here’s a funny/horrible thing that happened, now it’s a comic I can move on”. I miss drawing a lot, I hope to start easing my tendonitus back into it, in small doses, it’s the gripping a brush or pen movement causes me a lot of pain. Very frustrating when your body won’t let you do things, that are the things which define who you are, or at least once did. But of course we are not really defined by what we do, we just think we are because of the way our human social world is constructed.  There I am struggling against my head, logistical obstacles, the weather, lack of time, lack of money, then I look about and everyone is struggling, work/ life balance, poverty, sickness, mental health, political oppression, social constraints, the internet plunges one into a world of horrible trolls, hateful bigotry, suffering, negativity, judgementalism, it is overwhelming, even avoiding the actual horrible news about wars, environment, xenophobia, austerity. I already boycott TV as it seems to be a tirade of state sanctioned broadcasts telling us to behave and work harder, a deluge of hatred towards the poor, the sick, minorities, Scots and anyone not looking like a kardashian. I boycott all newspapers except the occasional local one and a certain nice positive new Scottish one. This week I also practiced ” the art of avoiding the internet”, apart from promotional things on the many social media pages I run, and my ‘ look, i made a pot! please buy my wares’ posts. I avoided everything else, the lure of discussions about some random pointless thing which turn into an argument about why your grammar is invalid or something, the baiting of cute puppy posts which turn into some rage about puppies being fed to tractors in Azerbaijan, or how feminists stole the rainforests or chemtrails made my copyrights as an artist no longer exist, or that the colour blue signifies that i will stub my toe and need supplements to make my eyes bigger, what about Stalin eh eh, he introduced sharia law to those loonie leftist Nazi’s nasty Nats as part of the new world order with goji berries the new diet wonder…. or..sorry who am i what was i doing? what? look shiny things, no wait it’s a hoax shiny thing … what… ah yes, the internet. boycotted, this week. feel better now, thankyou. much better.

so anyway what else? making a copper wire tree while watching the evenings dramatic escapism. We’re half way through the series of Flash and just finished Gotham, The Arrow and Dare Devil, all good stuff. ” My name is Vicky MacVik and I’m the crankiest woman alive ” . The copper wire is most scratchy and hard to work, but not as annoying as John Barrowman, yuk.
Been doing some doodles on pottery, the first drawings in ages, it feels good. Must make more things to draw on.20150629_15081920150629_151932 20150704_123018

Been making bigger piles of people again. can’t fit much in my wee totty kiln, but made one at Inverness clay studio, where there is a bigger kiln and am making ones that will just fit my wee kiln, might build some in sections to overcome the size limits.20150623_15213820150630_154018
 a lot of time in my Pop up Pottery is spent mixing glazes, recycling clay, and tidying up between classes. I think people get scared when they come in and see me whacking the big lumps of clay really hard ” oo who are you thinking of when you hit that clay? ” (EVERYONE) , I should offer it up as therapy to others. I could sit with a cup of tea and therapise, ” there there, hit it some more, good good let it all out…sluuurp…pass the biscuits”. 20150701_151024“it’s not hitting is massaging, I need to get all your air bubbles out, now keep still ! ”
20150701_153012” Noooooo!”

20150702_124453 And then I made a new sign, to add to the other signs, banners, chalk boards. But I still get ” Oh is this a pottery? ” “we didn’t know if you were Open or not” ” can we come in? ” ” oh sorry we were looking for the pottery?” ” are you open?” etc . sigh. the public, *rolls eyes*
20150624_19281020150704_225217Some nights Bruno comes to help me, i work often at nights, to try & catch up. He can’t come in the day as he is too Barky and scares the already timorous public away. Not that it matters, as the public are not so much the buying public, but more the chatting & leaving without buying so much as a postcard public.

So in order to make more than one thing, to make some pennies, one can make a mould to repeat the object, by pressing in the clay. You can buy ready made plaster moulds, but what is the point of that? it is just someone else’s design. This is something which has always mystified me, that people are happy to use someone else’s design, or idea and call it their work?   I’ve had a lot of people use my designs & copy me in the past, it always caught me off guard because it’s not something that it would occur to me to protect myself against, why would anyone not want to create their own things, from their own imagination? It probably seems mean that I hide some of my press moulds from classes, but what is the point trying to sell something I designed, when everyone else has made themselves one?
anyway this is how you make a mould, and I’m happy to teach anyone how to make their own ones, rather than use mine ! 1) make half a chicken shape. build a wall around it.
2 ) fill it with plaster of paris mix.20150618_1250563) wait until hardening, remove clay & shape.


4) make a matching other half, then…20150702_143007“Buckbuckbuckkkawww”

I’ve made some more Raku pots too. Throwing wee vases is a bit technical.These scallop shells, weren’t that technical, or an original idea, it’s pretty simple, press clay over shell. Raku fire. But they are very popular.

20150618_170454These copper Raku hearts are also very popular.Making big handbuilt Pots is what I enjoy a lot, if I get the chance. *day dreams of a big kiln and buying public*20150623_152152
so the pottery I make gets displayed in the Pop Up Pottery,20150624_192640
In the iGallery;20150626_173831
Or at the monthly Market days in the village hall.20150626_110528
ooo look hearts, shiny things, bright colours. mmm #buymywares20150625_14024020150625_140257And these Ivy leaves I treated myself to a necklace made of them. see how much less cranky i look? No ? More time out required?
how about a quick kayak?  ahh yes.20150701_212613
 or a swim about some pools after work one sunny evening?20150703_194258
or a lovely day out with some old friends for an 11yr old birthday party on a seal trip? that sounds pretty ace, .. and it was.20150621_122840
 or a walk around the beautiful local public gardens at Attadale?WP_20150627_007WP_20150627_011 WP_20150627_018ah yes, we’re getting there, and summer is also slowly arriving, a day or so, here and there.
Tune in next time for more middle age rants, cranks and exhausted cynicism, or you never know I might be all nice and shiny after ignoring moany e-mails & the internet for another week.

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This entry was posted on July 7, 2015 by in Blog and tagged , , , , , , , .

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