Eric Beavers | Episode 394
Eric Beavers lives in Nesbit, MS but was born and raised in Northwest, NM. The culture and scenery of the American Southwest has influenced the techniques and colors of the functional pottery he makes. Eric graduated from the University of Mississippi and now works full time as an art instructor.
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How do you come up with new ideas for your work?
I think it’s two-fold. One, continuing to draw on the influences of what got me into clay in the first place and some of those influences I have carried as different threads of the same tapestry. Also just looking at a lot of work of other potters whose work I admire. Seeing the different things that they are doing that I find interesting. Whether be in form or function or texture I see a lot of people’s really, really stellar work. Instagram is a wonderful thing these days in that there is so much work that I can look at. I think those two things continue to influence my work and bring new ideas to the table.
You had to stop for awhile and take a break. Tell me about the value of down time and how to use it to its fullest.
That’s a tricky one because I think that being in the studio and staying busy is incredibly important. Because I think the more you work the more you start to find different things. I think the more you work the more new ideas come to you just from the studio practice itself. Now with that being said, I think it’s good to take a step back and reflect on what it is you are doing and why you are doing it.
What is your favorite tool in the studio?
A circle template has been pretty handy for making all the circles that I put on my work. And a number two pencil. That is actually what I use to carve those circles in the pots. I guess if I had to pick one, I like a good wood tool with a pretty slim thumb end on it for blending the coils together. Particularly on the interior of the pots that I am making.
With limited time how do you make your studio practice as productive as possible?
I keep a pretty strict regiment I guess. I function on kind of a minimal amount of sleep. Not only because I have a boy that is only four months old but I force myself to get into the studio. If I am tired I go into the studio. If I am wide awake I go into the studio and I just get in there and hammer away at it and just try to stay productive. I have an idea of what I want to do when I go in there and I go in there and work. If I waited until the mood hit me I think I would be too tired most of the time to work.
How do you balance the value of creativity and the value of the sale you have to make?
Hopefully, the sale that you get is based on the creativity that you are putting into the work. I think that you stay true to the things that you want to make. What you want to say. How you want to say it. And hopefully people buy into your work for the same reasons that you are making it. They enjoy what it is you are putting out there and ultimately you end up getting a sale from it.
As a teacher, are their tricks that you hold back from your students that you keep just for yourself or do you give it all away?
I don’t. Everything I have got in my repertoire I pour out for my kids. There is nothing that I hold back. There are things that I learned from other potters that had really benefited me in the studio and I think the clay community is one of the friendliest, helpful, most trustworthy communities out there. I think that is always what has drawn me to the clay community is that everybody shares.
What qualities of others’ work really capture your eye?
That’s tough. There are so many qualities. I guess right now maybe texture. Texture is what is really jumping out at me right now because so much of what I am doing with my own work is about texture. But I certainly wouldn’t limit it to just texture alone.