I once saw a professional potter’s bio that read, her “pots reside in kitchens, on tables, and in cupboards across the nation.” And I love that image! I’m a fairly practical person, so I think it’s no coincidence that my creative medium is to craft functional pieces that can be integrated into people’s day-to-day lives. I give away most of my pots as gifts, and I love to think of my loved-ones drinking their morning coffee out of one of my mugs or eating cereal out of one of my bowls. I also sometimes make Jewish ritual objects like Shabbat candles, Kiddush cups, or mezuzot, and I feel so honored to think of my sister’s family, for example, using my candlesticks to light Shabbos candles. It’s almost like I’m there with them.
My first three years of working with clay I just took class after class after class. (I think I took Advanced Beginner three times?) My studio in NY had a very methodical way of teaching ceramics and structured syllabi, so I just worked my way through all the projects. And after a while, I felt ready to work on my own projects without the structure of a class to guide me. (And then my friends started to get married so I had lots of wedding presents to make.) Lately, though, my friends seem to have taken a break from the nuptials, and I’ve had more time to devote to developing new skills and exploring new projects. I devoted February, for example, to teapots. It was the first time I spent awhile with just one form for the sake of exploring that particular form, and it’s been a lot of fun. I looked at lots of teapots on Etsy, and I’ve been trying to experiment with shapes and spouts and lids. I’ve been learning a lot. I’m also trying to push myself to pay more attention to texture and glazing.
|Tea Pot & Cups|
I’m not always successful at this, but I try to make it to the studio twice a week. I find it’s hard to make good progress on a project if I go in less frequently. In some ways it’s limiting that the studio is only open 3 days per week, but in other ways that’s motivating because I need to plan ahead, and I’m less likely to procrastinate or be lazy on the nights I’m scheduled to be there.
There are so many pots to make! I want to make lots and lots of pots. Big ones, small ones, colorful ones, simple ones. I want to get a lot more creative with glazing and texture. I want to make my own stamps and experiment with carving. I want to try different types of firing - wood firing, raku. One day it might be fun to help teach a beginning pottery class. I don’t really have ambitions of selling my work, but I do harbor a fantasy that my very favorite bakery in Brooklyn that makes the most delicious muffins in the world would maybe sell my pots in the cupboard where they usually sell antiques.
Thanks so much for sharing, Deb! If you're in the Providence area and interested in throwing some pots, check out the fabulous Dew Claw Studios - it's full of great folks and they offer a lot of classes & workshops. You might even run into Deb there!
**My Creative Friend is a series of blog posts featuring the creative practices of creative women in my life, posted on the last weekend of each month. By sharing our processes, my hope is that we can all learn, grow, and be inspired in our own work. If you're interested in being featured, please contact me!**