When I was a kid, my parents bought me a pair of sunglasses that looked just like Dad's RayBan "Wayfarers" -- sunglasses with a cool, almost timeless style that has been "hip" more often than "uncool" over the past 50 years.
But did my parents think I wouldn't notice.....or care?.....
...my new sunglasses were a TOY. Instead of leaving the things alone -- or making essentially a kid-sized Wayfarer....
....the manufacturer stuck little six-shooters in the upper corners of the frames -- thereby making my sunglasses into a juvenile version of Dad's glasses.
I didn't WANT a juvenile version of Dad's glasses. I wanted Wayfarers that fit. When I was a kid, I didn't like things that were decorated in some manner that some adult figured would make my stuff look like kid's stuff. If I liked something that adults had -- clothing, tools, sports equipment....sunglasses....I wanted them to be JUST LIKE the adult's version.
But there are lots of reasons --beyond "juvenilizing" a product -- why people who make stuff may unnecessarily decorate those things that ought be better off left alone.
The Potter's Dictionary has a listing for "Clobbering". Clobbering is the act of adding decoration --LOTS of decoration -- to a pot on the assumption that the more decoration a potter can fit on a piece, the more value he's added to it. Kind of a "more is more" mentality.
Well, I'm not the ultimate un-clobberer. I like decorating a pot with my stamps and my slips and my carving. But just as often I come across a piece I've thrown that just begs to be left alone.
I've always found great contentment in continually exploring the simple. Sure, I can go crazy with imaginings when presented with the wall of color chips at the local Sherwin Williams. But there's just something about me that continues to gravitate back toward the elemental -- the primary palette.
Pottery has a terrific primary palette, and when you discover a red you like to work with, a yellow with character, and a blue with interest, you have a lifetime of pots in your future.
I should have said, "I have a lifetime of pots in my future".
Sure, I've strayed a few times -- my early nineties were teals and pinks. (<----Heh. Yeah, me. Teals and pink.). And one of my favorite glazes right now is my green glaze (but I would actually nominate green as the fourth primary color if there were such a governing body to whom I might state my case. I'd say "hey, it's nature! .... grass, trees, mint chocolate chip ice cream -- ALL green". I'm pretty sure they'd ultimately see it my way. I can be darn persuasive.)
But I always seem to return home.
It's like always having a control from which to diverge. Rather than having design elements that are all moving targets all the time, I keep one or two constants and then diverge from those for the contrast necessary for interest.
Oh, and despite my passion for the simple, the elemental, the primary....I overthink EVERYTHING. That is key.
ANN: Yeah, who is that GREAT looking new guy over there by the coffee machine?
ALICE: You mean the guy holding that cool green mug?
ANN: Yeah, him. Who IS that guy?
ALICE: Why, he's not new. That's Bob.
ANN: Bob? Are you kidding me? THE Bob? ‘Bob’ the perennially-overlooked-for-advancement? Shows-up-at-the-company-picnic-alone Bob? THAT Bob? Are you kidding me?
ALICE: Yeah, that’s him. Amazing the difference a simple new mug can make.
ANN: Has he always had such white teeth? ….and his hair looks so shiny and manageable! Has he always been such a smart dresser?
ALICE: I couldn’t really tell you. Nobody ever noticed until he got that mug.
ANN: I’m asking him to the NEXT company picnic.
ABBEY: Get in line, sister. I noticed him first!
Bob’s cool new stoneware mug holds 14 ounces of coffee, tea, or whatever else Bob is drinking at the time. It’s not just got that cool leaf-stamp hand-brushed wax resist pattern on the outside, it sports an even darker oribe green glaze on the inside.
Don’t be uncool forever. Be like Bob. Stand out in a crowd for once in your life. Own the cool mug.