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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Zen Pottery

I haven't been feeling the pottery thing for a couple of weeks now. It's not a bad thing, just taking a mental break I think. It's been an odd feeling, I know I need to get busy making some things, but I don't really feel the urge to do so, I go out to my studio and I clean, organize, shuffle things around, but not making anything wonderful. Today, my friend Susan had a great photo of an alter in her house on her blog, and it occurred to me that Wesley has an alter in her room where she meditates every morning and although I have lots of things from nature in my studio as we all do, I don't have a specific location to honor nature and peace and creativity. So, I made myself a little alter thanks to Susan's inspiration. Earth: a rock, some shells, and a seed pod, Air: incense and a bird's feather, Water: a tea bowl filled, Fire: a candle. I lit the candle, the incense, put on some great music and just sat still for awhile. I looked at my stack of books and the first one I came to was Zen and the Art of Pottery. I always enjoy this book, so I picked it up. Let me share the first passage with you. It clearly identifies what I know a lot of us go through:

After a time of decay, comes the turning point.
The powerful light that has been banished returns.
There is movement but it is not brought about by force
the movement is natural, arising spontaneously
For this reason the transformation of the old becomes easy.
The old is discarded and the new is introduced.
Both measures accord with time, therefore no harm results.
I Ching

Clearly, I am never going to be a production potter with this mentality towards making work, but I have to have my sanity, and that requires quiet time, time with my family, and time away from clay. So, I have resigned myself to the fact that I work slowly, I make few pieces, they sell, and then I make some more when I want to. That's just the way I roll and I am lucky that the AP values Gerry and his work and he gets a check from them each week. When we start depending on me, we are going to be really thin, because there will be very little food! As my work gets stronger and I find my path, this attitude may change, I'm working on that. I would like to help Wesley get through college and make the contribution to our household income that I used to make. We'll see how this goes......vacation first, then back to it in a more serious way I think!

11 comments:

Anna said...

Gosh, I TOTALLY get this. I just am not happy producing in BIG numbers. While some repetition feels very meditative....I lose interest later in the process after the throwing....I am SO lucky that Greg earns a great income, but I too want to contribute....and I think I see big changes in the future and GREG's tuition to pay. :) So your post hit me just right today. Thanks for that.

Tracey Broome said...

Hey Anna, glad you liked the post! I know that the full time working really hard every day potters will probably laugh at me, but I feel like I started out too late in life to try and make this a full time career, those potters took a long time establishing their reputations and I appreciate the fact that many of them get up every day and work hard all day long. If I were younger I might do the same. But I did that in the furniture industry and working that hard is not where I am right now....oh well, we all do the best we can I believe..

Amy said...

it's refreshing to read this in that you are being you... and not succumbing to what you hear other potters doing.... instead, at your own rhythm. Glad that you can do that, financially... I sometimes have similar phases in my pottery making and have found the rests help in the long run.

Tracey Broome said...

Amy, I so wish I COULD be like many of the full time potters around here, I envy the work they make and the time they put into it, I envy the gas and wood kilns. But that lifestyle is just not what I can do right now with the crazy family I have and the time I still need to put in to perfect my craft. And I'm just plain tired, I've been a full time mom for 18 years, I was on a plane every Monday morning for years and years, I traveled all over the country, and now I live with an AP photographer that is at it 24/7. It's just not in the stars for me, so I do what I can do and make the most of it!! I want my work to be honest and come from a good place so I have to accept my limitations!

JUDI TAVILL said...

I SO get it. But you know that!

Kings Creek Pottery said...

I am often fighting where I am, which leads to chronic dissatisfaction. Good for you to find peace in your life space and let it be. A grateful heart leads to serenity. This will be my meditation for the day~
Thanks Tracey

Tracey Broome said...

Hey Judi, I guess all moms get it. We just have too much to do every single day. Kathy, "let it be" is sort of a mantra around here. You just have to give in sometimes don't you!

jakki said...

i like this post tracey! i am feeling it too. i am so with you. just not feeling it. glad to see others are feeling the same way. thanks for the post. x

Tracey Broome said...

Hey Jakki, I know, I have talked to several people going through the same thing, I sometimes wonder if artists cycle through the planet on the same frequency!

SUSAN WELLS said...

Beautiful Tracey! Nice to see your picture and thinking of you quiet in your studio....

Tracey Broome said...

Thanks for the inspiration Susan,your photo was so great!