try hard

December 23, 2023

Robert De Niro hit the nail on the head when he said there’s no right or wrong in art. “There’s only good and bad. And “bad” usually happens when you’re trying too hard to do it right.” Kate Semple‘s ceramics are a glorious example of the possibilities available to an artist when she, as De Niro says, “feels loose enough to create what you want to create.” Conventional forms –– vase, bowl, cup –– take on a life of their own in Semple’s hands. Each piece is just a little bit lopsided. Seams are unfinished. She makes no apology for running glazes or wonky rims. Quite the opposite, she celebrates them. “Getting it right” often means denying ourselves the eccentricities that make us unique. That render a piece (or a person) interesting. Human. This is a slow and painful learning curve for me. I’m grateful to have a studio space, finally, where I am “free to try anything. To have choices.” I hope to “loosen up” a little more every year. What I’m most drawn to in Semple’s work is exactly that, that it feels free and unfettered. And what is more beautiful than that?

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