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Collaborative Work

This is a three dimensional ceramic something or other that is now gracing the deck of my backyard deck. It stands about two feet tall, and it's heavy. I helped to make it, but I could never have created this on my own. I worked with two other students in last semester's ceramic class to build the different pieces, slip and score them together, paint, bisque, glaze and fire it.

We learned a lot by making this piece and I don't think any one of us would have composed this particular structure on her own. That's what I love about it. We brainstormed together, fitted this shape with that, rearranged it several times, working on the project for several weeks.

The final product of pretty much anything I make is something of a surprise. I have an idea which I try to bring to fruition but so many other forces are at work: my skill level, the kiln gods, chemistry and physics. In the end, a piece is itself, separate from me, rather like a child. I have hopes and dreams for a pot, but it often turns out differently than I expected. Like life, I suppose.

This is especially true with collaborative work. And that's why it's so wonderful. I like and admire my collaborators, respect their opinions and their capacity for hard work. It was a pleasure to work with them. So the process was fun. And now I look at the final product and think, it's me but it's not me. It exists independent of me. I smile when I look at it.

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