Big Ceramic Store Blog

What Is Organic In The Ceramics World

My daughter Amanda is an art teacher in North Carolina, so whenever I have a dilemma, I reach out to her for suggestions. I often bounce ideas off of her, or send her pictures of works in progress for critique. After all, she has an art degree, right?

A while back, I was talking to her about some challenging pieces I had coming up, and her comment was, "Mom, your pieces are really pretty, I just think you need to be a little more "organic."

My first thought... What in the world is "organic"? Is it the type of clay I use? Or maybe it's the designs I put on it? I really had no idea what I was looking for. Organic to me was always food grown without chemical or hormonal influence.

I hung up the phone feeling a little frustrated! Although she tried to explain organic to me, I just didn't get it. You see, I'm kind of a perfectionist, and she was telling me that organic isn't perfection, it's natural. That was hard for me. I thought clean lines, and crisp corners, were the way to go.I started doing some research on "Organic Art", thinking I would find pictures of animals, plants, fruit, and so on. What I found really surprised me! It was pictures of pieces that were very similar to my earlier pieces. You know the ones I'm talking about... warped, not quite round, high on one side... the ones that weren't "PERFECT!"

I also discovered, although many people had different opinions, the common thought was this... Organic Art is:

  • Naturally flowing and curving in appearance
  • Irregular or asymmetrical
  • Associated with nature... like plants and animals
  • And the biggest thing I discovered... imperfections are perfect!

During all my research, I kept hearing my husband say, "If people wanted perfect, they would buy it at Walmart. They want the imperfections, that's what makes them special." Shhh... don't tell him I said he was right!

So, I started practicing "non-perfection" crafting. Hand building with an intentional warp, wheel throwing with a high side or wobble (shich comes easy for me because my wheel and I are not best friends), and glazes like, Spectrum Shino Glazes, that lend to the organic feel.

Try stepping out of your "perfect" box for a little while. I did, and I'm really starting to enjoy the less stress methods. I don't have to like my wheel as much, and those little oops's... well, I make them work for me!

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