The Fresh Eyes writing course for artists is an online writing program, created and facilitated by ceramic artist Amy Kennedy. Every morning at 7.30 am, a group of artists gather via Zoom and write to a prompt for 15 minutes. Once a week we gather for longer and do some extended work in break out groups. Last time I participated in this program my writing was pretty all over the place, but this time around I am writing before and after the sessions and its definitely getting easier and improving aspects of my ceramic and visual arts practice.

Along with my participation in the program, I am reading a great deal more than normal (due in part to my deceasing attention span which I attribute to social media, and You Tube etc.) and then writing about what I have read. Getting away from TV and social media is part of my strategy to read and write more, and this has been a great decision on my part in terms of the benefits to other areas of my visual arts practice, beside my ceramics.

So, I am going to post some of my writing as shorter blog posts in response to the prompts that interest me most. I am also using a creative writing style and not just writing about me or my practice. I am attempting to be more observant and descriptive this time around. I’m not sure I will have time to write a blog post for ever day but I will give it a go. 

Day 1: How curious am I being?  The prompt: You are an ant traversing your work. Describe the journey in intricate detail.

Navigating this vast ceramic playground as an ant, every step is a revelation, an unexpected surprise, a brush with something strangely beautiful or bewildering.

The damp clay underfoot feels like the squishy mud after a rainstorm. It’s cool, wet, and oh-so-inviting, especially for a tiny creature like me. Every so often, I’ll stumble upon a fresh thumbprint, each line and swirl a veritable maze, leading me down paths I hadn’t intended to take.

Next, there’s a bisque-fired piece, a veritable mountain range in my path. It’s rough, gritty, and a little more challenging to traverse. Some spots are sharper, others smoother, and I have to wonder what Guthrie was thinking or feeling in these moments. Was it a day of triumph or frustration?

A shimmering pool of glaze up ahead catches my attention. Wading through it is like crossing a tiny, shallow stream, with the glaze sticking to my feet. Some are thick like honey, others runny like water, each with its own story to tell.

As I venture on, there’s the grandeur of the pottery wheel, a mighty plateau in this vast landscape. Even the scattered remnants on its surface tell tales of the Guthries artistic adventures, mistakes, and eureka moments. I can almost feel the dizzying swirl of its rotation, imagining the clay spinning and rising like magic under the artist’s hands.

Everywhere I go, I’m struck by the little things – a splash of colour here, a forgotten tool there, a tiny crack in a piece that might just be the artist’s favourite mistake. There’s evidence of trial and error, of playing around just to see what happens.

The artist’s tools stand tall around me, like mysterious artifacts from an alien world. To me, they’re towering skyscrapers, each with its own tales of creation and destruction.

The most captivating part? The subtle, almost invisible grooves, the lightest brush strokes and scratches in the clay, the faintest colour gradients – they’re like whispered secrets waiting to be discovered.

As I wander this curious world, I can’t help but reflect on the journey of the artist, too. All these subtle choices, happy accidents, moments of doubt, and bursts of inspiration. It’s messy, it’s chaotic, but it’s also a bit poetic.

End of Day 1