In April, I went back to the pottery studio after more than a year away.
Before, when I was working, going to the studio was about doing something with my hands. About the pleasure of taking my frustrations out on an unsuspecting lump of clay and feeling a bit better at the end of the evening.
I was happy to make the same bowl over and over and to glaze those bowls with a few favourite glaze combinations. I learnt a lot about technique making those bowls, discovering exactly how thin the sides could be and how little clay I could leave at the bottom before a piece collapsed in on itself.
I was always late for my Thursday evening class – but I made it, and that was an accomplishment by itself. At some point, during the busiest part of managing the library expansion project, I decided I didn’t have time for pottery any more.
Now, I have more time and I’m on time: I get the full three hours of studio time. I find myself thinking about new techniques and designs to try next all week. I discovered Pinterest and am busy pinning pieces that inspire me. I’m not throwing many bowls these days – instead I’m trying to create my version of this creamer with a matching sugar bowl and playing with vases with cutout designs.
Not all of my experiments turn out well; in fact, my bowls were probably more appealing. But for the first time I am thinking about design and balance and composition and “what if” and “how about…”
For the first time, pottery is about more than just technique.
Suddenly, I am a beginner all over again.
And I’m having fun.
A few of my favourite finished pots:
Note: this post is part of a series about my adventures during a year long, self-funded sabbatical. For more, click here.