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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Run towards the unknown daylight


Clay....... what a mysterious thing it is. What an addiction.........
 Today I went into my studio and started packing it all up. Overwhelming sadness took hold of me.
My studio is full of ten years........ glaze test tiles, some so pretty, I remember taking them from the kiln, excited at the prospect of applying a newly created glaze to my work. A box full of them. My brushes, how many strokes of terra sigilata were applied with those fine brushes, some hand made from other potters, some I made. My trimming tools, also some hand made, ribs, sponges, clay stamps I made, paddles, templates, molds, ware boards, bats, books, journals, magazines, old work that never found a home, chemicals, scales, buckets, my wheel, my kiln, my stool....... not to mention all of the little treasures I have collected, some sent to me, some found in drawers, flea markets, antique stores, thrift stores....... so many little things I never got around to using. So many things I found and love. Bird feathers, rocks, shells, driftwood, bones, rusty cans, rusty nails, a bird's nest built last year in the rafters, glass bottles I found on Shackleford Island and brought back on the ferry,  more rusty stuff. I have four tool boxes that were my dad's. I packed all of my tools in them. Clean, worn, used and used. Now packed neatly in metal boxes. I have to start this now, it's going to take awhile and we want to get our house ready to sell at some point.

The floor is swept, spiders relocated, boxes packed for giving away. My kiln is clean and ready to sell. I felt as if I were walking in the soft deep sand on the beach, slogging through the day. I turned one way and saw a hundred things to do, turned the other way and there were a hundred more. Couldn't focus on one task at a time. Couldn't really focus on anything. I would see a test tile and have so many ideas for a new piece. I would find a trinket in a box and immediately know what I would create for it. All I really wanted to do was to sit down and cry. I'm keeping all of my stuff for someday, but as the song says, Someday, never comes.....

Today I felt as if a chapter in my life ended. New chapters have begun. I love my job at the garden store, love the people I work with, love the new things I'm learning. But when was the last time I made something? It's been a long while...... the thing is, clay is all consuming. It's 24/7. And I don't have a lifestyle to give 24/7 to clay. I really need more than 24 hours in a day as it is, but add clay to the equation..... I don't have what it takes for that anymore. I have developed tendonitis in my left arm. I'm left handed and some days I can't even brush my hair ( not that I do that very much anyway, ha), some days I can't lift a teapot the pain is so bad. Some days it is such an annoying pain, I want to just lay down and pull the covers over my head. But I don't. I just do stuff anyway, ignore the pain, get so busy I don't notice it, and get on with it. What else can you do?

Today was full of memories. The warm sun coming in through the windows of my studio in the fall afternoons, the trees golden in the woods.The songs on my iPod or NPR and the BBC reporting the news of the day. The smell of my trash cans from raku brought a rush of memories of firings with friends, late night firing, firing even in the snow and the rain.  The sound of Wesley's car pulling up in the driveway around 3pm every day, just home from school, coming down to tell me about her day as I worked. The sound of my wheel, the slap of clay on the wheel head. Carrying ware boards carefully up to my kiln. Getting up early  in the morning and going downstairs, holding my breath as I opened the kiln. Ecstatic when a piece came out perfect, deflated and crying when something cracked or a glaze fucked up a whole load. Poor Gerry having to listen to my cursing and yelling. But being the first to share my excitement when I opened up a reduction can after a raku fire that was magical.

I miss all of this so much. I made some beautiful work. I got published in books and magazines. I got invited to some pretty great shows, worked some great festivals. Met some great folks.  But I never made any damn money and it just sucked after awhile, working so hard and seeing nothing for my efforts monetarily. That's what happens when you make art for money. It is an unrealistic and extremely difficult path that just fucking beats you down to pulp. So I got off the merry go round in exchange for a paycheck and a thank you at the end of the day!

Only a couple of my old pottery pals ever check in anymore. I never hear from my old customers. Galleries never call. I have faded away in pottery land. It's good though. I don't stress over the time I'm spending with my clay and not my family, don't stress over how to pay show fees and guild dues, don't stress over entry fees for exhibitions, don't stress over rejection letters and work that didn't sell. In fact, I don't really stress over much of anything. One day, I'll get out some clay and make some stuff just for me, but for now, it's endless purging from living in one place for too many years. Time to move on and head for the unknown daylight!

15 comments:

littlemancat said...

Beautifully written, Tracey. You made me feel your sadness in this little memoir - I think writing is in your future. The descriptions of your feeling and memories as you cleaned and sorted in your studio are very moving - I can almost hear Wesley's car pull in the drive.
Changes and transformations - so difficult, so vital.
Best to you as always,
Mary

Tracey Broome said...

Thanks Mary! I'll leave the professional writing to Wesley, my blog is as far as it goes for me, haha!
Change is inevitable and hard, but I have learned over the years to just go with it....

Dennis Allen said...

Getting rid of things is really hard. I have tools I don't use, bikes I never ride, space that's full of stuff that would be better off empty. Whatever path you take, may it be free of stones and have wild flowers on both sides.

d2eclaylady said...

You write beautifully, Tracey .... we (your many friends in blog land ;)) know where Wesley gets her writing talent from. Yes, leave the clay but keep the tools. Clay will never leave your heart and if you let it and the time is right, it might return again to your hands .... Brenda

Scott Garrett said...

You'll return to clay one day Tracey. Don't sweat it, you just need to be elsewhere for now. Life's like that... As I well know! ( I even nearly signed up for some hardcore basket making, like I don't have enough on!). Anyway Tracey, I'm keen to follow your new adventure... And home! Let life be what it will be (and I think you do). Hopefully we'll really drop by with some beers one day! (I spent a day at my cousin's in the country at the weekend... Never realised he had 14 acres and the most wonderful old barns... And woodland with old derelict clay pits!)

Lori Buff said...

Beautifully written, I feel your pain. I took a 27 year hiatus from clay, it waits patiently for you if you ever want to come back. If not, you always have those memories. I’m glad you’re finding peace and enjoyment in your life.

Anna M. Branner said...

What you need is there when you need it, as long as you can see it. Clay was there for you, to give you an outlet to create. Moving on is sad but you have what you need again. :)

Trish said...

Beautifully written, Tracey.. I agree with the other readers of your blog..you do have the writing gift..:)
Life IS the journey, not the destination.. enjoy the journey through to your next chapter. (and tell us about it as only you can..:).. Peace. Trish

Michèle Hastings said...

I am feeling sad, reading about you packing up your studio, but I also look forward to reading about this new chapter in your life.

Tracey Broome said...

Hey everybody, thank you so much for the comments. It's been an emotional week! I appreciate the kind words of support soooo much
xoo

oldgreymareprimitives said...

<3<3 <3 tis done and goodness will follow <3

Tracey Broome said...

Absolutely!!

handstories said...

I love that you spent time writing about this transition, Tracey. It's so hard to leave something that was so important, even if you know it's the right thing to do. Your creative lively spirit is sure to hold many new wonderful adventures.

just jody said...

"Sometimes the strength within you is not a big fiery flame for all to see, it is just a tiny spark that whispers ever so softly...You got this. Keep going." Always listen to your Soul and keep going...my friend.

JUDI TAVILL said...

I MISS YOU!!!!! I just included your house I bought on an instagram/FB/Twitter/tumblr post!!! I want to show you!