George Orbelian on Ceramics
The plasticity of clay is unique among natural materials. Clay is workable and malleable because fine clay particles are flat like tiny panes of glass. When moistened by water, or oil in the case of oil based modeling clays, the flat clay particles are attracted to each other by the surface tension of the moisture which causes them to cling to each other. Lubricated by just the right amount of water (or oil), the clay particles slide against each other in response to your touch, then hold a three dimensional record of the forces that shape them. Most of my work is done with water based clay and fired.
I treasure the way clay records and retains moments of interaction between creator and earth – and how the fire makes those moments “permanent”.
“If you go to a master to study and learn the techniques, you diligently follow all the instructions the master puts upon you. But then comes the time for using the rules in your own way and not being bound by them….You can actually forget the rules because they have been assimilated. You are an artist. Your own innocence now is of one who has become an artist, who has been, as it were, transmuted…. You can’t have creativity unless you leave behind the bounded, the fixed, all the rules.”
Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth