A sharing of ideas, techniques, successes and failures in the volatile world of pottery and family life.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Just try to sit still and focus!

This is something I've repeated umpteen times to my boys over the years, particularly during homework time.  It can be very challenging at times, especially if it's a subject they don't like.  But in order to succeed you must focus and get it done.

You've heard the expression "Physician, heal thyself.".  Well, in this case it's more like "Mother, parent thyself."!  I need to sit still and focus.  The world of pottery is too vast.  The possibilities are endless.  The learning is endless.  Every time I turn around there are more and more ideas of what I want to try being presented to me.  I envision myself on the wheel putting my own twist on different things: bowls, mugs, cookware, vases, etc.  All useful things and I love the idea of someone preparing dinner or enjoying their morning coffee with something I made.  But....

I've learned over the past few years that I'm not a production potter.  That means sitting down with 20 lumps of clay and churning out identical bowls one after the other then glazing them to make matching sets.  This is an impressive skill that I've tried and had a little success with.  But every time I do, after 3 or 4 bowls, I realize my heart's not in it.  I know this is how many potters make a living but it's just not my thing.

Stubby has chickenpox
When I get the creative juices flowing it isn't mugs and bowls that pop into my head.  It's faces of sassy, little critters smirking and smiling at me.  My first sad attempt at creating a functional birdhouse ---> ---> ---> ---> --->
was primitive and useless but pretty darn funny looking!  I think it was the humorous aspect that kept me going until I got it right.  What started out as a daydream during church (shh, don't tell the pastor but it could have been Divine inspiration!) has evolved into birdhouses, banks and garden decor that I LOVE!  I have such a good time creating my critters (I even talk to them!) that when I see someone's reaction to them it makes my day even if they don't end up buying one.  I just think "They get it!"  That's why I'll continue to do craft shows.  There's nothing more telling than peoples faces when they're viewing your art.  My favorites are the people that stop dead in their tracks, mouths dropped open then bust out laughing.  It kills me when I see people walk by my booth, look at my guys and not register any reaction.  But then I console myself by thinking they're distracted and maybe looking but not seeing. Either way they're not getting it.  How sad for them.

So, focus!  As we're facing a new year we need to evaluate and set business goals, which is what's prompting this tirade.  I think I've found my niche and I need to concentrate more of my efforts there this year.  Focus!  I have to resist the temptation to try everything that passes through my mind or in front of my eyes.  Focus! I need to focus on the joy, the smiles, the whimsy, the playful spirit that's buried in all of us and just needs a little poke to show it's beautiful face.  I'm living proof that laughter is the best medicine and I don't care how happy you are, everyone can use more joy and that's gonna be my focus.  Through my work I will bring more joy into the world whether it likes it or not!


  1. Your creations make me smile! I think you have to love what you are doing or it will show in the work. I am in awe of potters that can turn out 20+ mugs in a sitting but I know that's not me. So love you make and make what you love.

  2. Thanks, Julie. I think you're right about your love of what you're doing showing in your work. I think that's why I get so much out of watching people enjoy my work. It's like an invisible connection through the clay.

  3. You have a great vision for the new year and I think that mindset will serve you well! I too have come to the realization that I'm just not a production potter. Happy New Year!

  4. Thanks, Marie. I just checked out your shop and love your forms. Very organic. Happy new year to you, too!

  5. I agree, I also have a hard time focusing because so many ideas are running through my head. This year I am moving in a different direction. I'll be writing about it on my blog o0nce its off the ground. Take a peek sometime.