The Fight for Balance

I get catalogs of artist shows from Pucker Gallery in Boston, including a recent stunner named “Crafted Elegance, Recent Ceramics by Yoshinori Hagiwara.”
This catalog contained a review by Andrew Maske, Associate Professor of History and Visual Studies at the University of Kentucky, in which he talked about balance.
” This balance between control and caprice is a devilishly difficult thing to achieve:
impose too much control, and the results look stiff and contrived; exert too little and one risks a lack of consistent quality. Good potters attain such balance in some of their ceramics; great potters achieve it often.”
Surely for any artist working in any medium, this names a central difficulty and challenge. I’ve tried more or less successfully to deal with achieving such balance for forty years as a potter; I know it when I see it when the piece appears at the opening of the kiln after the firing has cooled. For me, naming the problem in such a concise way allows for a kind of reassurance, a kind of bright light illuminating the struggle. Once the problem is nailed by someone, a way toward resolution just might become apparent.

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