More about Inspiration

Here I am... I know... I've not been around for a little bit... But I am back continuing my thoughts about Inspiration, from my previous entries where I wrote about 'borrowing.' So what do I mean by borrow? How do I borrow? Who do I borrow from? Why do I borrow? I think borrowing is the same as Rice Freeman-Zachery's definition of Secondary Inspiration... you know the one where you look at some one else's art and think 'boy that's a great idea. I think I'll have a go at that...' I just call it borrowing. When I am stuck for an idea; when I can’t get started myself, I borrow because starting can be so very difficult for me at times. I think it is for a lot of artists, (although, at the moment I have a head jammed with ideas... and still can't get started!!!). Some people might think that borrowing is a lot like copying. it's not, unless you copy of course! Borrowing is when you take an idea that someone else has tried or even perfected and you borrow some part of it to you get you started. 

Following are some images of my attempts to borrow ideas and techniques from a wonderful artist Vipoo Srivilasa. Check out his website at www.Vipoo.com. You will see my art looks NOTHING like his... what can I say? But I did borrow and made his ideas my own, in my own way... which is what artists do... they learn new techniques and put their own personal mark on them. The Grunge series in my ceramic gallery are inspired by Mr Percival. You'll find him in bits below...

I have had the pleasure of participating in several workshops run by Vipoo Srivilasa, a Thai born-Australian ceramic artist currently residing in Melbourne. I am always struck by how confronted I am in the beginning of a workshop. I never quite feel good enough, but I am prepared to start somewhere. Our class begins with two pinch pots, ideas borrowed from Vipoo...

Still borrowing, I join the pots at the hip to make the body...

Borrowing Vipoo's decorative and joining techniques to make Percival's feet....

Vipoo is an extraordinary ceramic artist who has exhibited globally, but is kind enough to share his ideas and experiences with us fledgling artists hungry to gobble up what we can from his limitless knowledge about hand-building with clay.... and, he knows a lot! Vipoo is patient, enthusiastic and has a great sense of humour. Goodness, he needs to be...Just  imagine trying to teach 23 primary and secondary school teachers at one time!. We've no idea what we're doing (guess I better speak for myself!).

But at the end of the day... success!  Having borrowed some of Vipoo's ideas and techniques, I've been able to develop the skills and confidence to experiment with my own ideas to design a mythical monster!!!

But at the end of the day... success!  Having borrowed some of Vipoo's ideas and techniques, I've been able to develop the skills and confidence to experiment with my own ideas to design a mythical monster!!!

All dressed up and no where to go... This is Percival after several applications of  coloured under-glazes and the final firing. He does look quite smug there...

All dressed up and no where to go... This is Percival after several applications of  coloured under-glazes and the final firing. He does look quite smug there...

Here's a close-up of Percival contemplating the way of the world... after all, he has been pushed around, twisted, poked, pulled, suffered heat-stroke and now, he can't move a muscle!

Here's a close-up of Percival contemplating the way of the world... after all, he has been pushed around, twisted, poked, pulled, suffered heat-stroke and now, he can't move a muscle!

He does have great hands tho'... check out the bling on his knuckles... and what about those nails!

He does have great hands tho'... check out the bling on his knuckles... and what about those nails!

I did not like Percival at first. I thought he looked clumsy and was uninteresting. I was not even going to glaze him... Thought it was a waste of time.... Of course everyone else's sculpture was better than mine... (sound like one of my students!). I used him as a test sculpture to test out my under-glazing techniques. I just laid it on, scrubbed it off and laid some more on... no fear. To me, all was lost anyway... and then he was fired. I opened the kiln door and there he sat pondering his future no doubt... I took him home and my son fell in love with Percival. I kind of warmed to him and then I liked him very much. Percival went into an exhibition and sold before he hit the shelf! We miss him very much.

I am reminded yet again... There are no failures, no mistakes in art, just happy accidents... I put it all into MR P. and he gave it all back. He looked fabulous with his rich surface colours and textures and this is what appealed to the collector. He has pride of place with her other sculptures and I have learned a lesson... to have more faith in myself as a creator... and remember... crikey... it really is just a bit of clay!!! Don't get so emotional...

But thanks Vipoo. You are my inspiration. Thank you for sharing your ideas and techniques and thank you for being so darn nice! I love your work too. It just gets better and better!!!