Sunday, January 31, 2010

It happens this time every year...

My hands get itching for some clay and a wheel. I miss that constant spinning and the conversation you speak with your hands over the smooth clay body, and the fight and tug to get everything centered.

There is something so utterly satisfying about supping from a dish that you made. You and the clay and the water and the kiln. Although, you secretly know you had less of an influence on what came out of that dragon furnace --because the clay did what it wanted in the end. 

My ultimate dream would be to build a wood kiln somewhere out in the forrest, and have an art yurt completely dedicated to throwing pots. Throwing in the round, just seems so right somehow. 

Winter, I think, lends itself to making things. Crouching over some magnum opus. Leaning on the wheel  digging up half frozen silt from the bottom of the barrels and recycling it back into a good stuff. Caking your hands in slip!

I miss my ceramics classes. I especially miss when it was our turn to do a 24hr wood kiln at my professors' studio. Timing the logs to make sure of the constant temps, and throwing the salt in at the right time. Building ice caves to sleep in when you were off duty. Smelling like smoke and dirt. Then the unveiling of the kiln. MAGIC! You never know exactly you're going to get. You can predict how the fire will react to a pot depending on how close it was to the actual flame, and how the soot may cover an area, and where the salt landed. 

But the opening of the kiln, and the toasty heat from the bricks and the pots almost resonating with warmth creates a wondrous feeling to the 'makers'. Some "Awwws" of collective disappointment when a broken pot is found. Still there are more happy gasps and cheers when a fellow's experiment turned out.

It was my ceramics classes that taught me the interesting paradox to art making.

On the one hand to not be so attached, and so invested in a piece that I ruin it with my own flawed hopes for it.  "It's just clay. Smash this one, you can make another. " 

It also taught me to be selective with what I offered to the fire ; only the best. "Is it kiln ready? Is it kiln worthy?"
Perhaps it's this flu I've been fighting since Wednesday that makes me reflect in a dreamy state of illness, but I feel like this is the perfect metaphor for my spiritual journey.

On the one hand, I want to make sure that I don't take everyday and every mistake I make too seriously or else I would completely loose my mind in the flaws and the daunting task of reaching and working toward perfection and enlightenment. 

And also, of course, to make sure my time, my thoughts, my actions, my offerings are ready and worthy of what I'm working toward. 

The letting go of what you've made from the clay you've been given. That thing that you struggled and triumphed and yelled and laughed and smashed and started over and over again. You give it up, and hope it can withstand the test of the fire, and it is made more beautiful and interesting than you could have made by yourself. 

 "Take away the dross from the silver and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer." Proverbs 25:4

 "If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the masters use and prepared unto every good work."2 Timothy 2:21

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