Yesterday, I was going to only work on the one ceramic piece I had wrapped in plastic. It’s the pot part of a flower pot. I did finish up that piece. Smoothed out the bottom rim. Cut holes in the bottom of the pot. Carved a fossil-inspired fern on the pot.
Then, I spied the porcelain and decided I’d make a pinch pot. Just a medium size pot. Just one. The bag of porcelain is now empty and I’ve got three pinch pots wrapped in plastic.
The pinch pots started with tiny pinch pots I made for holding my air plants. I played with shape. I played with glaze. I decided I needed to make bowls inspired by those tiny pots. The tiny pots have undulating walls and rims. I undulated my current batch of pinch pots. Sides puffed out. Sides rippled. Rim undulated. Eventually, I will be layering glazes on the inside of the big – as opposed to air plant size – pots to see how the colors swirl and mix.
Art does that. It starts as a sketch, is born in mud, and then grows into unexpected pieces. Life is like that. Do you know anyone whose life went according to the original plan? Mine sure didn’t. I’ve done things I never planned I would do.
I’m working on a written piece which equates science with art. Science starts with a question. Question leads to research. Research leads to more questions. Eventually, an answer or two is found. In college, I took the biology classes for the pure joy of learning. Like the mountain, biology was there. Existing is value enough. Until a scientist wants grant money. Then existing is of no value. Results, answers, applications – that’s where the value is.
Art starts with a sketch. Sketch leads to questions: How to build this? What materials to use? Is engineering necessary to keep the piece from collapsing? Questions lead to research: Find a Youtube video that shows how to do what I want to do. Find an image that will help me to make the project. What type of clay? What type of fiber? What color? What texture? Questions lead to finished project. Art, like the mountain is there. Existing is value enough…. unless there’s money involved. Then the piece is about money. Is there an audience for this piece? Will someone buy this piece? What will this piece teach others? Does this piece explain the Meaning of Life?
The Meaning of Life is to look around. To see color. To see form. To see contrast. To recreate what’s seen into art. To take what’s in my head and make it come out of my hands. There’s enormous value in a simple piece of art. That value is intrinsic and independent of any price point.
Science is the same. Do we have a justifiable need to know how the universe came into being? Do we have a justifiable need to know what kind of rock over which one just tripped? Do we have a justifiable need to know what things too small to see unaided look like? No. But we work to know how the universe came into being, to know what kind of rock over which I just tripped, to know what image a scanning electron microscope will show.
Curiosity has intrinsic value. Absent curiosity, there is no technology. There is no medicine. There is no cure for disease.
Look. Think. Scratch your tush. Think some more. Look some more. Create something. Curiosity. What will these glazes look like if I layer them? What will this garment look like if I add batting, fancy threads, fancy stitches and glitter? Will I be giving the message I want to give?
Intrinsic value is sufficient.