Quotes that haunt us....

“Less is more.” Ludwig Mies van der Rohe quotes (German born American Architect. 1886-1969). This quotes pops in and out of my head on a non-stop basis. It haunts me really, which I know is a funny thing to say. I first heard it from a design professor I had back at Virginia Commonwealth University. At that time I was in school for commercial interior design and Mies van der Rohe was his favorite architect of all time. "Less is More" he'd tell us over and over again. I of course really didn't understand this. All I knew is that everything I looked at by this architect was very modern and not really to my taste but since it was design..I was suppose to like it.

"Less is More".
Than when I went back to school to become a potter and all I wanted to do was glaze all my pots in everything single color combination I could find, my critiques would come back with quotes like....
" The surface doesn't match the form"
" The glaze application competes with the handle and the foot"
" The form is good but the surface is to busy"

Out in my studio on my own..... thinking thoughts about my work and looking and looking some more.......
Once again the Quote comes to mind "Less is More".
I than answer my own thoughts " Is less REALLY more? Or can more be exciting, fun, playful, beauty, a visual cornucopia? "

Well, more is me, its what I love to look at. Its what draws me into something. Color, chaos, jazzy, layered surface and whimsy!

Who's knows where 2011 will take me and my work but I think its taken 10 years to get here, where every HERE is. I feel like I've had two years sliced into one. The beginning of 2010 was me still trying to compete with myself and feeling like I was leaving the one's I loved behind in my path to do more, more, more. The second part of 2010 was me being ok with what I was doing and wanting to put my drive on hold and give back my time to the one's I loved. So I guess really LESS IS MORE for me in some sense. I think I succeeded. I feel like I'm in a good place at the moment.

What a wonderful Christmas gift of have my little studio between the pages of Ceramics Monthly as well as be in a new book called "Introducting Pottery". I had great ceramic students this year and good sales. What else could a potter ask for!

Happy 2011 everyone-hope its another thought-provoking New Year.


Ann said...

In a parallel fantasy life i'm a minimalist ;-> In this one...well, not a productive philosophy for a maker of objects and a (professional) collector of books. :) Happy new year, and congrats on the CM feature!

amy said...

Well Jen...ditto. On all of it: life and pots. I find myself telling students all the time that we're "supposed to" think less is more, but more is more is more appealing in my book. That's a lot of more's in that last sentence! Can't wait to see you later this week!

Mr. Young said...

For you, more is just right!

Gary's third pottery blog said...

those critiques sound idiotic, as college critiques often do in retrospect :) I like what my instructor always said "I like what you're doing here and here. Go to the library and look up so and so. MAKE MORE" That was it, week after week....

John Bauman said...

I really enjoyed the Ceramics Monthly Studio Visit. The first studio I ever worked in was a similar converted-porch situation. Reading your description really took me back. It was tough in the cold months ... though there's something strangely nostalgic about the kind of warm I'd feel with only my backside to the space heater and my hands in hot throwing water.

Though my pots are definitely in the less-is-more camp, it's not because I believe that maxim to be "right". I'm also a fan of pattern, celtic knots, feathered plates.

I like contrast. I like more on less. And I like less over more.

I think I like the possibility that "less is more" and "more is more" might yield to "right is right". But, of course, taste usually rules. And I thank God every day that we don't all like the same things. That would likely make me unnecessary.

Oh...and your pots don't strike me as "more is more". They strike me as a very pleasing unified whole.

Anonymous said...

I read your CM article last night and really enjoyed it. I have been through the whole Mommy little children part of my life. It can be so hard some days to do the balancing act. Now my boys are 13 and 15 and it is a different kind of balancing act. More like Mom's taxi, and taking time out to go to all their sports events, which I love.
I'm also really new to etsy... we just have to stick with it and re-post lots!
Even though I am of the less is more camp, I thoughly enjoy work like yours, and as John says, I thanks God for our differences! It would all be so boring if we all made the same kind of work.
May your 2011 be happy, healthy, and properous!

jim said...

hi jen, just finally read the CM issue yesterday and there you were... congratulations, you've made it to the big time. as far as less is more, i don't think so. sometimes maybe but not absolutely. happy new year

Jen Mecca said...

I have agree, that I too think life would be so dull if we liked the same thing. As for design school though..much differant than the fine art and you are taught to like a certain way a line or color goes together and I can appreciate that. I look at things like that much more know ( not on my pots so much ) but in other things. I hope my design professor is out there somewhere and maybe happens upon my blog. "Cheers to you Camden Whitehead, where ever you are, your words have stayed in my brain for years!"

Now..time to sprig pots like they've never been "spriged" before! :)

Quietly Otaku said...

I often feel like less is more when I throw, I always get that urge to fiddle just that little bit more with a piece I made and then oh no! Disaster strikes.

I just need to stop fiddling with things so much!