things made from soul, by heart, and mostly by hand
Pottery, for me, serves the same function as poetry. What I mean is: it holds me in both my moments of darkness and light. It's a vessel for my being; the art form that's given me the greatest healing and centering. I think it's because I am literally working with earth and mud; compressing my energy, opening, sculpting, and then, that ultimate yielding to the transformative fire of the kiln. Not once, but twice.
I started throwing pottery on the wheel after the traumatic end of a five year relationship. I came back to my empty Brooklyn room in the dead of winter and found immense comfort in a tiny porcelain pot a dear friend gave to me for my birthday, weeks prior. The world had looked very different back then.
But that pot seemed to say to me: now you are truly alone. Now, I will hold you. Now, you will learn how to hold yourself. That is what pottery means to me.
The first time I threw pottery, I couldn't center the clay. It felt like a metaphor for me -- I couldn't center the clay; I couldn't center myself. Everybody else was throwing bowls, however wobbly, in their first or second try. I just had a mound of mess. As someone who was always used to being very good at things, this was borderline humiliating. I remember walking to the subway after that first class and crying on the street (again), thinking: this is when you wish you had someone to call, to go home and cuddle with and say, look how I failed today. But instead, I became very familiar with the rim of my despair, which is to say, the rim of my own being.
Through pottery, I learned how to find my own center. I learned how to wait, how to surrender, how to trust in the process of art, in myself, and in the universe of things. Eventually, I found my way to my own aesthetic, and I found the clay body that speaks most to me: porcelain. It centered so easily upon my first touch. And I think that's how the right bodies feel - effortless.
There are few things as satisfying to me as drinking tea in the early morning from a mug I made myself. It has been an essential part of my becoming, and my deepest wish is to share it, now, with you. So, thank you. Thank you for being here with me.