|Raku piece, 22 x 24 inches, ©2011 Mary A. Gravelle|
Cracked and broken (destroyed?) during the firing process.
Monday, October 3, 2011
Destruction: The Sledgehammer that Cracks Opens Your Creative Process
This past weekend I fired a large Raku piece -- glazed it on Friday, fired it on Saturday, and cleaned it up on Sunday.
I had built the 22 x 24-inch piece a year ago during my Raku class. I had measured it from side to side and top to bottom to insure it would fit into the Raku kiln. I failed to consider the diagonal measurement, however. My piece did not fit lying down in the kiln, so I had to stand it up. I fired the kiln slowly warming it to prevent breaking and cracking. But maybe the fire was too hot in the center of the piece due to it standing up because that is where the flame enters the kiln. I really do not know. I’ll talk it over with my clay professor, Curtis Dinwiddie, tomorrow during class. Hopefully, he will be able to shed some light on the cause of breakage and cracking.
With the destruction of this piece, my mind has opened to see new possibilities in this process. As for this particular piece, my friends tell me to go ahead and hang it as is and call it art. I think that the small piece on the right could hang by itself. That makes me think along the lines of diptychs and triptychs; making artworks from a collection of smaller pieces. Or maybe just make smaller pieces. Also, I wonder how I could achieve this look in the cone 10-kiln without having to fire it in the Raku kiln. My mind and imagination are lit up now as a result of the destructive turn of this art piece.
I have always thought of destruction as an integral part of the creative process. With this experience, I have a newfound respect for it. I wrote and published a paper on this subject in 1999. Here is an excerpt:
“Destruction or death is a natural part of life and the creation process. We cannot keep everything as is. Life moves on with or without us…. Sometimes we need to break our mold, break our patterns before we can move onto new ways of thinking. I like to call it shattered thinking. Think of a stained glass piece of art. It is made up of shattered glass pieces. Sometimes they are meticulously cut into pre-designed pieces. This is all part of the creation process. We can plan the pieces from a whole…the glasscutter might start out with a new sheet of colored glass, [then breaks] it down into several pieces. [Sometimes] we destroy our original creation in order to create something new. This is the hardest stage of the process.” Excerpted from: THE THREE STAGES OF THE CREATION CYCLE AND THE SCRUNCH IT!® PAINTING PROCESS , Mary Gravelle, Creativity Consultant. This article was written for the Innovation Network as part of a pre-conference workshop.
How has destruction helped your own creative process?