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Ramble: There is No Such Thing as Garbage Clay
I asked the MSATClayArt list what they would like to share with PCC since I'm over here. One of the clayers suggested this Ramble about There is No Such Thing as Garbage Clay. So for Esther, my darling here's your request. Get a cup of coffee, this is one of my long rambles. +++ 

I want to rebuke the myth that there is any such things as "failure" or "garbage clay". Both are a waste of resources. First and most important resource is our good mood. Nothing bums your high faster than feeling like a failure. It makes women sad and make men's testerone fall through the floor in negative numbers, which then bums out the women even more. Second resource is our clay. Clay cost money, waste your money you waste the time it took to get it to spend, that was your time, which is your life....seems pretty serious to me. Ergo I am going to give you examples of getting past the feeling of failure in claying and the perception that there is any such thing as garbage clay. 

Case in point: the ugly face cane of my early days ( 1998- LOL) that got reduced to be the veining inside of the Earth Elemental... 


I had such high hopes for that ugly face cane. One doesn't start out on a task with the intent of making other folks feel pity for them. "Poor Nora-Jean. She can't clay worth a lick." 

One wants to noodle some clay and have people fall over and say "Wowsie", right? Well, I literally wept when I made that ugly face cane. I threw myself on the couch in a funk and thought long and hard about this new clay journey and felt dejected and defeated. I put the ugly face cane away. 

HeckFire..I HID that cane, embarrassed at my crude work. When I was making the first elemental as an experiment in the use of eyes and expression I needed something to make some quick petals. I didn't want to have to condition something new, I must have some "garbage" cane that was a "failure" somewhere else that maybe if I just reduced it and made it into lace cane and reduce again I can fake a few petals and get through this eyeball experiment. I dug out the ugly face cane, delighted that I was going to obliterate any trace of such crude and disappointing work. In reducing it and making it into lace cane and then reducing that to a petal size, it made nice movement and texture with color shifts, it was subtle, because it had started out as a face after all. It all worked out. 

That ugly face cane wasn't a failure, it just wasn't fully manifest in its potential to be a more complex cane. It just as easily could have been called into duty as one of six disappointing canes used in a chop and toss or patch quilt experiment. 

Second Case in Point: When I was doing ShoeBiz


  I took some not so interesting patch quilt cane and covered the box, it turned out surprisingly acceptable. Knock me over with a feather. Then something hit me. Just because that patch quilt cane didn't blow my skirt up that didn't mean that it couldn't be used in conjunction with other things. 

All the colors in the patch quilt cane don't seem to bother the riot of StarGazerLilies or the sliver-slice flowers that make the shoes and border decorations around the bottom edge of the box. 

I realized I shouldn't judge an experiment by itself alone if it doesn't satisfy my expectations. I shouldn't think that the first iteration of a cane or stacked sheets is the end of the experiment is all. Maybe, just maybe, taking it further would bring out some positive use. Everyone has made a cane or a chevron or stacked sheets and was not pleased with the results. 

We've all gone through some learning process in mastering a technique. Do we allow this to be perceived as a no no, never say failure. 

Do we allow this to be perceived as wasted garbage clay? no no never, there is no such thing as wasted or garbage clay. 

The patch quilt, the sliver slice flowers, chop and toss were experiments made with cane or stacked sheets that hadn't been taken to their most productive point is all. Or it just needs to be used in conjunction with something else to become part of an ensemble, like that not so interesting patch quilt cane made a nice background on the paper mache box that had the legs coming out of it in ShoeBiz. 

So for those clayers who have stumbled over the speed bump of perceived "failure" ...honey, get over it. Take that experiment and do something else with it. Chop and toss. Run thin through the pasta press backed in pearl and then slice that and stack that and then run that through the pasta press again backed in gold...who knows. 

Just don't stand there like a deer in the headlights because the headlight of failure is just a perception that needs to be rooted out of the consciousness. It's all in your head. 

Anyway. Even when my husband, the beloved, says, "Hmmm, boopie, that's not your best work." I tell him it's a process not an event. I get over it, honey, I can tell you. No Speedbumps for me. 

Also, don't count the steps. Like climbing a mountain, don't look down. Don't say...ok I got to mix a mess of colors, condition it, make sheets and logs and then do a hundredtwothreefourty steps...sheeeesh. That too will get in your way. Clay with a certain level of amnesia, you are seeking to please your eye, to enable you to express something larger than words can express, so the amount of steps don't matter for it is in the journey that we commune with our muse and the journey is sometimes more enjoyable than arriving at the destination of a finished piece of art.

That's why artists keep on producing stuff. 

So there it is then....Get behind me Failure, Get behind me garbage clay. I rebuke you and refuse to allow you to slow me down. ...Chant that when you get stuck and it'll make you feel so silly that your mood will improve. But you have to say it with flair, in a loud voice, with arms waving around in grand gestures, got to pump up the silly factor to have this chant work. LOL I'm laughing so hard, because I was sharing that with Joy and she was eating something when I was throwing my arms about. LOL xoxo Nora-full of herself-Jean +++ 

Oh Esther was right, this sermon got me charged up. And I wrote the danged thing. LOL Be of good cheer, don't let the learning curve get you down. Clayers are a happy bunch, just keep mucking about and you'll get happy too. 

Love ya, Mean it (that's so Calfornian) 

xoxo NJ


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