channeling spirit

Walking back into the studio after a long pause is always a little daunting. It feels a little like the first time, and I wonder if I remember what I need to do.

I cut a piece of clay from a block with a pottery wire. I weigh it and mould it into a ball, sit at my kick pottery wheel, slam the ball onto the center, rev the motor. Then I look up, close my eyes and say something.

Bowl

Cup

Vase

Plate

. . . and I briefly visualize the form I intend to create.  I brace my left elbow against my hip and cup the clay with my left hand, sprinkle water on it with my right, and, using my left hand  as a steady guide, squeeze the clay with the right hand against the left, pulsing it up and down until I feel no movement under my hands, all the time the wheel going at full speed.

Centered

I make a whole with right thumb, constantly caressing the clay with my left hand. Clay loves to be caressed. If you're not nice to it, it won't be nice to you, believe me. Then I make my form, whatever it will be, using a sponge, or a wooden tool, or just my hands.

I don't overdo

When the form is humming and feeling sweet, I take the pottery wire, slice the piece off the wheel at the base and put it to the side. I'll revisit the piece the next day, cleaning, smoothing, removing any extra clay and putting on my stamp.

I make piece after piece, all the while calling for the Spirit to visit me, to help me focus on the task at hand.  This ball, this simple ball of grey goo that wants to become a swan of sorts, accepts that my hands are there to deliver it to its next incarnation. It's alive and it's strong willed, but it's also flexible, allowing me to bend it, move it, make it into something else.

It's very important to me that my pots feel good in the hand; my pots tend to have organic forms. I never pursued perfection in my work, rather a sense of familiarity. Of home. This is why I call on the Spirit before I throw a pot, to help me bring something into my work beyond my own ability. Something called love.

The longer I do this pottery thing, the less I feel it has to do with me.

I'm just here as the conduit. 

I want these bowls to bring happiness and warmth to the people who use them.  That good food will be served in them, that they will be used on a table rich with laughter and conversation.

This is the wish I have for my work, that the joy the Spirit brought forth in me to create it will be given further to the person who holds it next in her/his hands.

More I cannot want