Friday, July 24, 2009

My Work as Meditation. . .

It has just occurred to me, after all these years doing of doing art in the studio, that my work is like a meditation. It makes sense now why I never took to doing production pottery. Not that I couldn’t sit down at the wheel and throw a set of bowls or plates or almost identical cups for someone. But it was never all that satisfying. Maybe it was too easy for me – throwing bowls or cups off the hump (taking a larger piece of clay and only centering the top part to make a bowl or cup) went pretty fast –too fast.

My MO is (and has always been) that I like to take my time with a piece. The piece I recently threw as a base for Scarlett’s towel/cloth holder (see my earlier post -Porcelain, the Diva of Clays) took about an hour total from wedging to forming on the wheel. But that was just the beginning. I spent the next couple of days shaping the foot and then carving the outside of the bowl to get just the right curvature and then carving my signature design onto one side.

Why it’s taking longer than usual is the size of the bowl. I’ve been working on much smaller diameter bowls – thrown or pinched – which I could just hand hold for carving. But this piece needs to be turned not in hand but sandwiched between two bats, and then flipped over. Then I have to have it placed at just the right height and angle for carving. A piece that can be held in hand is much easier.

I go to the studio almost daily, usually after noon, and after three hours, I’m just getting into the rhythm – carve, look from all angles, flip, look again, then carve again. It’s a rhythm, which, in its own way, is the meditation. Time has stopped and time seems to fly by. I’m rarely ready to leave when I must. But there’s always tomorrow when I can begin again.

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