When we fire the wood kiln I think of the process as a type of collaboration with the heat and ash from the burning wood, the clay from which we make the pots, and our hands. We work with the kiln knowing how to place things, making educated guesses based on past history. We stack, fire, and then we wait while the kiln cools for a week. We wait and rest and refresh our vision so that when the kiln is opened we (perhaps) can move beyond preconceived ideas. There is a moment of trust, a rigorous permissive process, wherein the object which has been held in suspension can be recognized for what is working and not working. Ash which is heavy or surfaces which are rough, colors that are quiet or unexpected are all part of the conversation. My responsibility as an artist is to be open to all manners of result, and to recognize what I was after all along.
But not knowing, waiting and finding -- though they may happen
accidentally, aren't accidents. They involve work and research. Not
knowing isn't ignorance. (Fear springs from ignorance.) Not knowing is a
permissive and rigorous willingness to trust, leaving knowing in
suspension, trusting in possibility without result, regarding as
possible all manner of response. The responsibility of the artist ... is
the practice of recognizing.
-- Ann Hamilton