“You have a lot of intelligence in your hands,” said my mother.
I was a teenager then, and my mother’s comment was a bit mysterious.
But she was right.
That special form of intelligence has enriched my life. I’ve applied it to various pursuits, interests and passions. It’s especially applicable in pottery, because the hands often know what the head hasn’t figured out yet.
Many of the artists here describe the comforting mindfulness of the potter’s process, but to me it starts as comforting... mindlessness. The sheer joy of getting my hands into clay quickly gives way to the wondrous magic of seeing a shape arise. At first the work seems thoughtless; but my hands are taking me somewhere, showing me something.
That’s where I’m comfortable, and that’s what my work strives to embody.
Years ago while looking at statues in the Metropolitan Museum of Art I was enchanted by how sculptors had carved flimsy folds of fabric out of a block of marble. Talk about intelligence in your hands – what genius these guys had in theirs! For a while now, I’ve incorporated this folded fabric look into my work. It’s challenging; the clay is incredibly delicate before firing, but I think the result is worth the trouble. The pieces are both functional and decorative – vases that are also sculptures.
Now I’m looking at some new inspirations. Watch this space!
I have taken some pottery courses at the local college, but much of what I have learned in pursuit of mastering this art form has come through the generous, sharing community of my fellow potters, many of whom you see here. Gratitude to all who have helped me – and my hands - on this journey!