Monday, May 07, 2012

A Multiplicity of Voices

L to R: Wheel thrown mug and bowls, slab built pitcher, hand built salt/pepper shakers

A few years ago, I started to take ceramics classes at a local studio. I've never thought of myself as any kind of artist--my patients used to laugh at the stick figures I would draw to help them remember their exercises.  I don't have a good eye for balance or color and take pretty mediocre photographs. But I've always been good with my hands, so I figured I could take a chance on playing with clay.

I spend all of Monday mornings at the studio getting covered head to toe in terracotta clay. It's taken me several years of classes, but I'm finally at the stage where I can sit down with an idea in mind and create it.

But I don't just do one kind of work.  I'm too scattered for that.  Or maybe I just like to try too many different things. I feel the same way about my writing and working with different points of view and different genres. I'm not sure I'll ever have only one kind of writing voice.

 The photo is an example of some very different work I've done. It represents both hand building and wheel throwing, functional and more sculptural pieces.  Each type of piece takes a different mindset, but what I hope I bring to all my clay work is a sense of playfulness and exploration.

I do the ceramics because I find it meditative and fun, and love the inspiration I get from my fellow classmates.  I'm not interested in selling the work or getting into production pottery.  Mostly, I like to find happy homes for pieces and hope the people I've given work to enjoy using it.

It's also a joy to practice an art form without the kind of pressure I put on myself about my writing.  Precisely because it's simply a hobby, I can be freer with experimentation and not place so much importance on the outcome.

And today, for the first time in years of classes, I reached one of my goals: throw a large bowl starting with 5 pounds of clay. Yay!


  1. Beautiful pieces! You've inspired me to try this someday, as I've always wanted to. Thank you for sharing them, and your many voices!

    1. Thanks, Marci. I figure it's cheaper than therapy, and I have all these gifts I can give people. :)

  2. OOO! Pretty! I know what I want for MY birthday this year!