After a year of traveling unchartered waters, I felt as though I’d anchored in home port this week, spending the bulk of each day in the pottery shop. As I worked by the kiln this morning, it dawned on me that I’ve made pottery for over 45 years. No wonder it feels as natural as riding a bike. To feel your body go into a subconscious rhythm is a really lovely, zen-like experience. Working unaware of time is a unique moment of creative “being”.
Being back in the pottery this week was strictly pragmatic; my holiday sale was just a few weeks away when I began. I realized that if I were to have new ceramic pieces to show with my paintings, I’d better trade the easel and the scent of paint and thinner for the musk and dust of clay and glaze, not to mention the magical heat of the kiln’s fire- which carries its unique element of anticipation inherent to making pottery; after all the care in creating, in the end, everything is relinquished to the kiln gods for vitrification.
As familiar as this process is to me, closing the door and firing up the heat on a kiln-full of creations has new implications for me this week. My mind drops back to goodbyes I made at other doors this year: first, at the hospital elevator, Jim on the gurney headed for emergency heart surgery, then less than three months later, at the airport, myself with bags in tow, turning away from him at the car door to enter the airport and begin my cancer journey in Bavaria. It seems that every deed of our lives requires some sort of relinquishing, no matter how small.
After forty years of planning art sales, you’d think the anxiety would lessen. Truth be told, in my more honest moments, I still wonder who will come. What will be the response? It’s the excitement of the unknown that leads us through the next door.