How Detours Got Me to My Destination

When I look back I see all the detours I took that brought me to this place in time. A question comes to mind:

When did my love affair with clay begin? How did we meet each other and when did I know this medium was the one?

It was serendipitously meeting and oh so innocent.

I was a dairy farmer at the time and a single parent of four children so there weren’t many open spots on my calendar for dating but I met a man and over time fell in love with him. He was a potter. The only thing we had in common was music: we were in the same chamber singers group.

Time went on and I kept on farming, he kept on potting. We decided to marry and that meant giving up my dairy business and moving my family. Then, at loose ends and with nothing to do I worked in the gallery and I had to learn about pottery to sell it. What can I say, the clay wasn’t speaking to me much and I was used to dairy cattle and peace in the barn so it was a rough introduction.

Clay, you know, has infinite patience. No where to go. Nothing to decide. It’s flexible up to a point and then it breaks, falls apart. It, like me, had a point where it couldn’t go any further without disintegrating.

Soon I was working in the studio glazing and by osmosis or something clay was getting under my skin. I would sit and play with it. Push it around. Stretch it and separate it.

I made simple dishes for the gallery and they were awkward, just like my feelings for the clay.

But clay wasn’t hurt by my ambivalence-it didn’t care at all.

I don’t remember the first time I was excited about clay, the first time I dreamt a shape, the first time I sketched an idea, the first time I completed a project that worked. But now I can’t imagine my life without it.

I had always imagined that my first love, writing, would be my only love. You know, like your first love in elementary school, the belief that you would never find anyone to love like that.

And now, I see that there are times when I can only express myself with clay, and that there are other times that only words are adequate.

It’s a more mature love, full of metaphors, innuendos, similes and puns…a deeper and more intimate kind of love.

What I’ve learned is that I can get out of my way easier when I am in the studio working with clay than I can when I am here writing the words. It feels almost like a betrayal.

Anyway–that’s why I like to play with clay and make art, make beautiful objects, meaningful objects, that enrich and elevate people’s lives. There is a personal piece of my soul that lives inside each and everything I make.


2 thoughts on “How Detours Got Me to My Destination

  1. Great post. See you’re up in Door Co… one of my favorite places. I love being up there for the winter holidays… Didn’t make it up this year though.
    So glad I connected to your blog.

  2. Ah, small world. We’ll be in Deerfield in April. Would love to meet you. I am also happy to have linked up with you.

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