I've been reflecting on this time last year as I begin to think about the upcoming pottery course I'll be teaching...
Last Monday, I picked up my pottery pieces from the gallery. Our inspiring and vibrant instructor Susan met us there to unload the kiln. It truly does feel like Christmas when all the creators gather around and crack the lid of the large oven open. We all take turns peeking in, reaching and lifting the pieces we sculpted ever so carefully out. There is a chatter that fills the air with mixtures of excitement, wonder, and question.
"Oooooo, interesting glaze combo."
"Look at the depth of this colour... the other is so pale, two layers next time!"
"Everything shrunk so much! My mug is like a baby cup!"
After the final firing was complete, it was intriguing to see the various characteristics and styles of all our work. So much personality. I remember agonizing over little things like accidentally pressing my fingerprints into the wet glaze. Aiming for smooth and even coats while dipping pieces into the glaze buckets for the first time was a whole adventure in itself. The dribbles, fingerprints, tiny cracks, wavy trimming, various thicknesses~ although not intended, gave each piece it's own story to tell. I have grown quite fond of these little quirks. The amount of work that goes into each pottery piece is quite alarming. Work of both strength and delicacy. There were many moments of fear in my first few classes while I attempted to mold the clay into it's various shapes of cylinders and bowls. I think all of us students experienced countless surprises in discovering all our pieces would go through before we had anything (that would hopefully be) pretty to hold, eat our ice cream out of, or place on our shelf. There is the chance that any step may send my piece into shambles.. perhaps too much or too little pressure applied, too little thought, frustration, or a wandering mind prone to distraction. However, the motions of my hands pushing, compressing, pulling, trimming, and glazing the clay allow myself to risk, to feel, and to breathe. And that is worth celebrating. In these moments I experience a stillness. I can feel joy rising from within, despite any feelings of insecurity or self doubt that may try and wriggle themselves in. There is a new found freedom.
It amazes me how much I "loose" (in a good way!) myself in pottery. It captures me. This is such a beautiful reminder to me that our Creator cares all the more deeply for us. The Potter longs to capture our hearts. Despite the many quirks we carry as the clay~ the cracks (scars, regrets), colours (emotions), shapes (our self image, reputation) etc. I am every so grateful for the never ending patience, thought, and care of our Creator. Thank you Father.