As I sit here in the hot car waiting for a late ferry- (you must never be impatient if you live on an island)- I pull out my boxes (yes, boxes) of homemade pottery and can’t stop holding and marveling at the surfaces, the colours, the specks of gold and blues. These are mugs that I made with my own two hands!
I hope nobody sees me trace my finger over the tiny flower or the smudgy outline of black birds.
Why can’t I put them down..is it because they are so beautiful? No. They are bottom heavy and dripping with too many layers of glaze. The mugs are a hodgepodge of styles from sgraffitto- a scratched in pattern that makes very striking black and white pottery- to stamped flowers, starfish ( of course) and birds.
I can’t keep my hands off of these misshapen cylinders, the mistakes hidden ( not so cleverly) beneath a glittering copper raku finish.
And yet. I turn my little- what could it be, a wooden spoon holder? A pen holder? I hold them in my hands one by one, unable to put them down.
My teacher said on the first day of class- –that clay is honest. I think what he meant was that there is no way to cheat it… you have to be patient, weigh out your clay, work it carefully, not too wet, not too dry. And if you have ugly work, that is thick rimmed, with god awful colours it is because you are a beginner, there is no hiding this fact. All the beautiful pottery we use on a day to day basis-these pieces from potters are the ones who kept at it to make those lovely shapes, comfortable to hold and to drink from or eat our bowls of popcorn from.
And if I get better at it, if I do carry on with it— and I think I will, because I am caught in it’s spell of wedging and molding and waiting and glazing and waiting some more… then I will get better and maybe my next load won’t have glazes that are too thick, or lumpy- each time, little by little the forms will improve.
I will let you know when I get better….. Honest.