The Only Thing Constant in Life is Change

 

Carving has been the hallmark of my work for some years now. What began as mere marks to  identify my lumpy beginner bisque fired pieces on a community shelf morphed into an all-consuming passion. I carved pieces within an inch of their lives. Cramped fingers, sore shoulders and strained eyes was a little price to pay for the satisfaction of making a well carved piece. I had found my voice in clay and I was going to pursue it and perfect it with every piece I made, or so I thought.

Little did I know that a chance encounter with a piece of pottery three years ago in a small gallery in Yingge, Taiwan  would derail me from my perfectly laid out path. From the moment I saw it, this simple bowl sitting in the middle of a table decked out with lots of other pieces by various Japanese artists commanded my complete attention. I remember thinking that it was way over my budget and I couldn’t afford it. I recall walking away from it with a sinking feeling in my heart that if I didn’t get it now I would regret it later. A mile long walk and a serious mental debate later, I turned around with  this quote echoing in my head: “We never regret our extravagances, we always regret our penny pinching.” Thanks to those wise words, this piece occupies a prime position in my living room and in my heart.

But was I prepared for the impact this piece and my trip to Taiwan were to have on my aesthetic? I guess not, because when I went back to my studio to make pots, the uninspired feeling that crept in as I began carving, puzzled me. I found myself looking at this piece over and over again. A longing to create that simple, rustic, organic surface took root in my heart. Unbeknownst to me, I had started journeying in a new direction! It was a big change but it felt right because I was inspired again. I was studying, experimenting and learning, making a whole lot of ugly pieces and a few good ones in the process. I found myself sneaking out of bed in the middle of the night to peek into my still hot kiln– sometimes burning my fingertips– because I couldn’t wait to look at the results.

I was once passionate about carving but my path seems to be changing. And while I might revisit carving in the future, for now, embracing this change and allowing the inner inspiration to be the guiding force of my creative path keeps me evolving as a potter.

2018, Lidded jar, mid fired black clay, wheel thrown, faceted, sprayed with washes, cone 6 oxidation

 

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