Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Master Thoughts

Today as I struggle with A1 (Cube, Cone, and Sphere), I'm reminded of a side conversation some of my Salon mates and I had a couple of months ago. What is your reason for wanting to get involved in the Masters Registry? I'm actually asking you, the reader, to think about this. Are you an instructor and would like the 'credentials' after your name (to represent the equivalent of an MFA)? How many levels do you plan on completing? Do you want to challenge yourself to learn new skill sets? Take a giant leap outside your comfort zone? Do you want feedback about your current process and level of competancy? Looking forward to the critique and possible re-attempts?

I'm asking because the majority of the folks I talk to are 'just not interested' in some of the more technical or difficult projects. "What's the point? " they ask. "I'll never be interested in that (fill in the blank)". I think that too sometimes. For instance, I'm not really into glass. What skills will I learn during C3 that I'll ever use again? What a waste of time and energy! Or is it? I won't really know until I complete it.

I've taken all sorts of hard metals classes in topics that I know I probably won't pursue. Sometimes because I want to meet the instructor, and sometimes because I think it will make for a fun afternoon making stuff with friends. And I've learned something to take away in each class. Did I run right out and buy a hydraulic press after a two-day class with Cynthia Eid? No. Have I added steel to my materials list after learning how to solder it with Sarah Loertscher? Not yet. So just what is the point of forcing myself to endure the trials and tribulations of the dang cone, cube, and sphere project? What will make this project worthwhile?

I think this is the first project because it requires so many techniques that will be invaluable for the other 49. Learning how to construct those forms, without the benefit of a step by step tutorial, readily available molds, or a background in engineering will force me to problem solve and think for myself. That one technique (problem solving) will help me build boxes and the other hollow shapes required in many of the projects (A4, A5, A6, A7, A8, C2, E1, E4, and probably many others). Learning to create a uniform, untextured surface and invisible seams will help me finely finish the remainder of my work. If I construct these forms with base metal clay (as I am), I'll have to devise a way of firing in carbon that will not distort the carefully constructed geometry that I've worked so hard to perfect.

So, if you were considering skipping A1 (or any other unsavory project) or leaving it till last, I encourage you to consider another path. Consider the less obvious aspects of those constructions and how they might impact your future design strategy. You never know how mastering an unpleasant task will change your point of view.

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