On clayart, an email list I belong to, there is a running thread about what influences the potter. Many people there have been potting for decades, but I have only three scant years to my craft. So I cannot claim to be so good a potter as to have "influences" from those long schooled in its arts.
Yet, when I thought about it, the very medium itself was a mind-blowing experience when I grasped the awesomeness of a plasticine soft mud that through my efforts, could change into virtually anything I could imagine and craft.
The clay itself influences me -- the smell, texture, feel of it.
Every potter I see leaves an imprint on my mind.
I love Acoma Pueblo pottery.
I love Kumano pottery. the guy is insane. He fires his kiln to temperatures identical to those inside a volcano! His stuff looks like living stone
Conversely, I love the ethereal perfection of Miyamura
Mesoamerican pottery enthralls me.
The more I think about it -- what "influences" my art -- honestly, its not so much influence as inspiration.
I have had to process a LOT of data since I began pottery so late in the game -- at age 55. Many here have been working with clay for decades. I've only been at it for three years.
The three dimensional aspect of clay blew me away -- the infinite possibilities of each piece from start to finish -- that in and of itself created an absolute addiction to clay
I began to collect images of clay as a screensaver for my computer -- it was the easiest way I could compile a slideshow study to run through my brain and absorb the awesomeness of clay under the fingers of thousands of different clayists (somehow, artist does not suffice, nor do the words potter or ceramicist),
I have over 2 gig of images collected from everywhere. Not just images of finished art -- but images of kilns and firings and happy potters smiling over spinning clay, pictures of studios and hand made brushes and people glazing, greenware and bisqueware -- every aspect of this all encompasing artform.
Glaze chemicals themselves are an inspiration, mystifying in their inert powderiness, which, when mixed, leaves behind their dull cocoon and explodes into an array of volcanic color as they embrace and seduce the vessel they cover.
The awesome elemental forces of clay -- earth, fire, water, air -- all delight my deepest paganess despite its veneer of 800 years of Christianity in my Celtic lineage.
In once sense, I have no "influences" -- no pedegrees pompous or otherwise -- in terms of emulation. I am simply trying to learn the craft through repeated, careful, joyful pursuit of a simple objective.
In another sense, everything from the river and ocean where I live, to the sunsets that billow over me, to the colors and textures of life -- they all influence and leave their imprint on my mind. I, in turn, try to leave their imprint on my clay.