January 6, 2014


When I start a session in the studio, whether it be a long one or a short one, there are some obvious tasks that need to be checked off the list.
  • schedule firing date
  • mix and pug clay
  • clear wheel
  • clear wedging table
  • piddle around for an undetermined amount of time
OH! Yes, the last one is a very interesting one. I could expand on that last one quite a bit, and might if I had time! But like a dog circling around a resting place a few time to prep the area for lying down, I circle around the studio, thinking of all kinds of things that need to be done. There are all kinds of things that have very little to do with making pots and are barriers to just getting to the wheel and turning it on.

Part of the issue for me is the clearing of piles of random stuff that finds its way to my work table, residue of finished and unfinished projects. Packing materials, tools, yesterday's afternoon cup of coffee. You get the picture, right? Maybe you have the same stuff getting in your way?

But these things can all be put away routinely. These aren't the real hurdles for me. The real challenge to getting my work started is some kind of psychological-emotional leap of faith (maybe self doubt) There's a kind of re-remembering that I has to happen.

I have to remember to breathe, clear the mind, and prep my hands, arms, back! Each part of the process has to be re-membered each time I start, whether it be throwing, decorating/painting, glazing, cutting and stacking wood for the firing, firing the kiln, even stacking the bisque kilns.

It seems that these activities require lots of hats and a lot of remembering. They are usually contrary to one another, like working with the wetness/dryness continuum in forming the pots, then the abrupt change to painting hard, pink bisque ware, then firing the wood kiln.

There's a LOT to remember, right? It's fascinating and perplexing at the same time. In the beginning it sometimes feels like one is starting down the pottery road with square wheels. (Well, maybe they're hexagonal.)

I guess my point is that my particular processes can be bumpy, turbulent. I guess it doesn't have to be, I've certainly tried over the years to smooth out some of the edges with some alterations to the process, but I guess I've settled into this process, because it produces (or I produce) the kind of pots I like to make!

The pots would be different if I change course. It's not that I live and "never" learn, although it might seem so sometimes. Evolution happens, sometimes.

But beginnings are slow. Momentum/Flow takes time. After some time passes and I remember that I am in the shop to make pots and the way is made clear and the clay is wedged, the wheel spins. Ideas come forth, remembering happens, momentum build, pots fill the shelves.


Now, what is that firing date?