In a recent session of the Evolve writing program, Amy Kennedy had us write about a thought-provoking quote by B.K.S. Iyengar: “Extension brings space, space brings freedom, freedom brings precision. Precision is truth.”

This powerful statement, while deeply rooted in the discipline of yoga, sparked a reflective journey this week in relation to my artistic practice.

As a ceramic artist, the concept of extension resonates with me as an expansion beyond the familiar territories of my craft, exploring new forms and expressions. It’s in this process of extending my skills and boundaries that I find a newfound space – a domain where my creativity breathes, and ideas flow freely.
This space, both physical within my studio and mental in my creative process, is a path Amy has provided for me to follow to what we all want, which is what I think is artistic freedom. From the group discussions, I’ve taken this to mean that it’s a liberating force that allows my imagination to roam freely (but never without constraints- there is always some form of constraint), enabling me to experiment and express with authenticity. And within this freedom, I find myself gravitating towards precision – a meticulous and thoughtful approach to each element of my work. This precision is more than just technical accuracy; it is a pathway to what I am learning is truth in art, or a means of conveying the genuine essence and emotion of my work.

Iyengar’s words that are new to me, and though a guiding light in yoga, the words are weaving themselves into my reflections on art, reminding me that the journey towards something akin to mastery and truth in any discipline is paved with continual extension, the creation of space, the embrace of freedom, and the pursuit of precision.

We were asked to pick one of the following to write about:

. Extension brings space

. Space brings freedom

. Freedom brings precision

. Precision brings truth

In the writing session I chose to write about the idea of extension, and in learning more about I have expanded on all of them in this weeks blog post.

Extension: Beyond Boundaries

Extension, in the realm of art, signifies for me the courage to push beyond the known and comfortable. In my studio, where clay meets imagination, extension manifests as a quest to explore new forms, to integrate unexpected materials, and to breathe life into unconventional ideas. It’s me on the edge of a creative precipice, where I attempt to stretch the limits of my imagination and allow my hands to shape what I am thinking about, and for the most part are often intangible.

Each new technique I explore, every medium I wedge into my work, is an act of extending my artistic vocabulary. From the elusive balance of my glazes to the boldness of a sculptural form, extension is embracing the unknown and discovering its potential to enrich my work.

Space: The Canvas of Creativity

Space, both literal and metaphorical, is a cocoon or haven for my thoughts and creations. The physical space of my studio is so important to me – a place where raw materials can be transformed into expressions of my internal landscape. It is here, in this space where I find the freedom to let my ideas roam, to experiment, and to see the emergence of new artistic possibilities.

But space is also mental and emotional – the quiet corners of my mind where ideas germinate and grow. It’s in these recesses that I find inspiration and the depth of perspective needed to bring depth to my work. Space is where my artistic soul breathes, contemplates, and sometimes finds its voice.

Freedom: The Essence of Authenticity

Freedom in art for me is akin to breathing – it is essential and life-giving. It’s the liberty to express myself without the constraints of convention or expectation. In my practice, freedom is evident in the way I approach each piece, uninhibited by the rules of traditional ceramics, unbound by the need to conform.

This freedom is what drives me to take risks, to experiment with form and texture, and to imbue my creations with a part of my spirit. It’s a celebration of my unique voice, a testament to the authenticity that I strive to maintain in every piece I create.

Precision: Crafting with Intention

Precision, however, is the counterbalance to my freedom. It is my efforts to pay meticulous attention to detail, the careful crafting of each curve, and the deliberate choice of every element in my work. Precision is about intentionality – ensuring that each aspect of my creation aligns with the vision I hold. This is harder for me, it requires so much patience and willingness to set the work down, to pause and come back to it when I can focus fully.

In my practice, precision does not mean rigidity. It is probably more a question of balance, where each decision is made with care and each action is intentionally deliberate.

Truth: The Core of Connection

And at the heart of it all lies truth – the emotional and intellectual honesty that I want to embed in my art. Truth is what connects my work to the hearts and minds of those who encounter it. It’s the vulnerability of sharing my inner world, the rawness of exposing my fears and joy through the medium of clay.

In my journey as an artist, truth has been the most challenging yet rewarding pursuit. It’s the unguarded expression of my experiences, perceptions, and insights, crafted into tangible forms that speak to the viewer on a profound level.

Conclusion: A Convergence of Principles

As I navigate this weeks writing prompt about the intertwined paths of extension, space, freedom, precision, and truth, I have realised they are not just guiding principles but elements that can breathe life into my art. They are pillars that can support my growth and the lenses through which I might view my creative landscape. In embracing these concepts, I continue to evolve, not just as an artist, but as an individual forever in pursuit of artistic authenticity and connection.

Untitled Vessel 2023. Anna Guthrie. Photography Tony Webdale.