Back At the Wheel

Posted on May 24, 2015 in In the Studio, Uncategorized | No Comments

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These are the “before” pictures. In my never-ending quest to become an grown-up, responsible, functioning adult, I have acknowledged that (despite all evidence to the contrary), I find it very difficult to work in a filthy disgusting environment.  My husband and I have been sharing a pottery studio space for almost ten years now.  But due to a number of factors, including babies, winter, and other work, I only just recently got back into a routine of making.  We have big plans for this summer:  a new kiln, another firing, a show in St. Andrews in August. When I entered the studio for the first time in months, at the beginning of May, I had to acknowledge that the state of things had reached a critical threshold.  There is, apparently, no level of mess (of any kind!)  that will deter my husband from his creative endeavours.  Good for him. What a brilliant artist he is. Etc.  But I can’t take it anymore.  A recent devotee of Konmari (go read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying”, really), I had to do something. Sigh. The “after” photos aren’t ready yet, and I’m not sure they ever will be…but things do look better now, than what you see above.

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Every time I come back to the studio, after a period of absence, there are inevitably those first days (sometimes many days) of making during which I realize that it’s gone: my ability, my technique, my understanding of the material, any talent (however illegitimate or tenuous) I might ever have had.  This time, I spent three weeks throwing cups ad nauseum, with the devastating knowledge that *I’ve lost it for good this time*.  I started five or six large pieces, all of them collapsed, destroyed, hated.  I screamed and swore and threw things at the wall.  It’s a good thing, in some ways, that my husband and I have been on the outs for so long.  I think if he hadn’t, during one of our recent fights, stood in the kitchen and said “You know, you *could* be a good potter if you actually spent some time in the studio”, I  might not have had the determination, this time around, to force myself to just enter the studio, over and over and over again.  Resentment isn’t so bad.  I really don’t know where I would be now without anger and resentment.  They aren’t sustaining, I know that.  But sometimes there is no better catalyst for, at least, an initial show of force, action, determination.

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After two weeks of getting nowhere, I had basically given up.  But hell: just go down there one more time.  Surely the body remembers what it loves.  I sit at the wheel to begin another large piece, and somehow as I place the first coil, and throw it, I can feel immediately that the angle is just right. It floats up with a smidgen of grace.  There are my hands, doing what they need to do, to make this thing rise like bread.  I leave the pot to harden up before attaching the last several coils, and I sit down at the other wheel to throw some tea cups.  Centre, throw, rib, wire.  Nothing easier. Off I go.

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