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Monday, March 21, 2011

Eight years

I found this really ugly "bowl" when I cleaned out the upstairs bedroom where I used to have my wheel. I had boxes of really bad pottery that I had saved, maybe so I could see my progress over the years, maybe because I was too lazy to try and deal with it. But it's all gone now, I threw out a LOT of stuff. But I kept this, it was dated 2003 and it is the first pot I threw on the wheel at Clayworks in Charlotte NC. I put petes weathered bronze over some brown glaze and if you know weathered bronze, you know it runs like a mother. I had to grind the shelf because at Clayworks that was the rule, it was so embarrassing to walk in that morning and see my poor little bowl attached to the shelf with a note instructing me to fix the shelf. I will tell you that I have never had another pot stick to a kiln shelf. Lesson learned! This thing probably started out as three pounds of clay because that was how I was taught to throw, wedge up some 3 lb balls and get going. It took me almost a year to understand the concept of wedging and over three years to center clay. Slow learner and left handed, when I tried doing things backwards from what I was being taught it all came together. I didn't take to throwing naturally, I had to work at it, but if I try now and I'm not lazy I can throw a very nice bowl.
Eight years ago this month I started taking pottery classes at a community studio and today I made my first piece in my very own studio. A studio I helped build and a studio that money from the sell of my pottery paid for. Brilliant! It was like a religious experience. We finished off the shingles this morning, I had a cup of coffee with my carpenter, we hugged goodbye, had a happy ending, took Wesley to lunch, then the art library at UNC, then came home and made my first house in the afternoon light, with nothing but the sound of birds chirping and squirrels running around in the backyard. Breeze blowing through the windows, heaven! I had so much room, my tools were clean and I could find them, my surfaces were clean and I had a place for all of my slabs. As I worked, I wondered at the way I have been making pottery for the past few years and I now think that I have had temporary insanity. No one would try to make work the way I have been doing it and have their sanity. This is how the REAL potters must feel :)

14 comments:

Dman said...

Tracey, how do you keep your studio so neat and clean? Mine is a battlefield! :-)

jbf said...

Cleaning those shelves is a act of shame. Luckily I've only had a few stick over the years, but I know exactly how you felt.

Congrats on the new studio! (and the journey it took to get there!)

Liz said...

I am SO happy for you!

Scott Garrett said...

It's so nice to see someone's done it Tracey. There's not many who take it up so late, it gives me some encouragement. At least we've still given ourselves enough time to give it a good shot! Still envious of that studio!! Congrats again.

Judy Shreve said...

What a great story of progression! I love that you are in your own studio. In fact pictures from your new space inspired me to clean and rearrange my studio yesterday.

We should all post photos of our studios!

(I worked for most of my pottery life in 1/4 of a garage that included my kiln & wheel space and no running water.) Oh for the love of clay!

Dennis Allen said...

Feels great doesn't it?

Linda Starr said...

I've smashed of a lot of pieces here, still have a few more to release, one I crushed in California I wished I hadn't, a large wavy edged bowl with very thick RIO glaze that came out rough and metallic gray, too late now.

What size is your studio? It looks huge from the photos. So glad to see you have such a great space.

Tracey Broome said...

Dman, I've only worked in it for one day, so let's give it a month and see how clean it is! Act of shame is exactly the right phrase, I hated having to grind that shelf! Thanks Liz, Scott it is never too late I always think about how late Malcolm Davis started
Judy, I was hoping that the photos I posted could inspire someone since I have been so inspired by photos of other people's studios, and Dennis yep, it feels great! Linda, the building is 12X12 but I have a background in space planning so the space is used very well. Vertical walls is the thing I have needed most! Also, keeping everything the same tone and using white has helped give it a feeling of space too.

Sister Creek Potter said...

Yes, I've been looking at my studio space and wondering how I could make it into a more attractive and peaceful place. It is a cluttered mess right now. I guess the first step is sorting, tossing, and storing the tools. But before that I need to find out where Tracey gets all her energy for the tasks!

Paul Jessop said...

Eight Years, blimey I'm only just starting year 3.
Well done it all looks great, and along the way you have helped me in lots of ways. thanks for your experience and help it's much appreciated.

cindy shake said...

Purging is good grasshopper :o) Milestones are a gentle reminder that we are on the right destined path. I'll be ready to see your studio get that "lived-in" look and see some of those clean tools caked with clay! You go girl!

Michèle Hastings said...

i too am envious of your neat and orderly studio! we haven't even been in our a year and it is a mess. i think we need someone like you to come whip us into shape!

Tracey Broome said...

Gay, my energy comes from a pitcher of iced tea every day and the espresso Gerry makes in the morning! Paul, I cannot believe it's only been three years for you! Look at that fabulous studio you have created in such a short time. Wow! Cindy, they are caked with clay today, and Michele, I thought when I was building this thing that I should start a pottery studio consulting business :) but potters like doing things their own way.

Paula Henderson Pottery said...

I have a request...pictures of your studio a month later with out cleaning up before the photos. I think it would be interesting to see everyones studio the way it actually looks when in use. Congrats on the new space!