Down 'n Dirty with Clay
A friend reminded me today of where my head was at around last September. It wasn't a good place. I had had a very bad time with doing outdoor festivals. Much of it attributable to painful problems with my right foot. But also a general burnout of the show scene, coupled with a slow economy and a feeling that I was stuck in a rut with my work. While complaining to said friend, I mentioned that I felt that I had to change things up, that I was bored, that I felt pigeon holed into what I was doing. (My cow paintings) CREATIVE CRISIS had struck! Thank goodness I had a Christmas commission for a couch painting which allowed me some leeway and a break from painting cows. Don't get me wrong, I love my wild cowies, but I just wasn't feelin' it.
Come around December when my daughter began painting lessons with a friend of mine, I wandered into the clay studio to kill some time and fool around with throwing on the wheel, something I had never done. I think I got hooked the first time I got my hands and pants all dirty trying to center the clay on the wheel and do my first pulls. I had found that new challenge, that new outlet that I was yearning for. I had forgotten about my angry rants in September. I was telling my friend how I seem to run to the clay studio every free chance I get now and that's when she reminded me of the dreadful headspace i was in just a short time ago. Now, I am having so much fun learning so many new techniques and ways of making things. The coolest thing about clay is that it teaches a control freak like me to let go. Being a newbie, when I throw the clay on the wheel it often dictates to me what it will be. Sometimes it will bend to my will but often not. It teaches me to go with the flow. When I apply glazes, I can put colors together with my painters eye, but again have to accept what the clay and the glaze and the heat determine as the outcome, not me. So every Thursday, when the kiln gets opened, it's like Christmas or giving birth to something. Complete surprise. If you look through my archives, you will see the progression of where I started and where I am today. So much fun! In a few weeks, I will be having my Annual Holiday Open Studio. I have somehow managed to make pieces in the short time that I have been making pottery, that other people might like to own. (I know because I have sold a few already) Above is a sampling of some of my recent pieces that will be for sale at my Open Studio. Unfortunately, I haven't offered them for sale online due to shipping concerns. I can honestly say that each piece is one of a kind because I am just learning and wouldn't be able to replicate a piece if I tried. If you are in the area, I hope you will stop by my sale to see my awesome new pottery and my paintings and everything else I have to offer (including some great wine and snacks). I am sure I will continue painting. I rejoice in the knowledge that as a creative person, my life doesn't have to be just one thing. An artists life is a ongoing work of art, a creative process in itself which knows no boundaries. If you are thinking about trying something new yourself, I highly recommend it. Even if you don't think you are a creative person, spread your wings, try on something different and see what shakes out.