They say small changes make a big difference. And for the past year, the whole planet has been making seemingly tiny steps in, I believe, the right direction. Nevermore than now has each one of us been in dire need of self-exploration, self-development, and self-reflection.
Our bodies and minds demand determination and connection: connection to the self, and connection to our craft, grounding.
Throughout the past few months, I have been pushing myself to expand my skill set, create a legacy and even call into existence a new me. However, the harder I thought about anything, the harder I felt it is to bring it to fruition. Therefore, I realized, we all need a little less thinking and a little more doing. In fact: a state of meditation where one can keep an open and creative mind.
For me this state is present when I do pottery: bury my hands in the thick and cold clay and feel it warm up and soften in my palms, feel the motion, though my body is barely in a state of such, find my inner center, which becomes the origin of something beautiful, earthy and valuable.
Pottery is not just a little mind journey, but a whole new Universe opening up as soon as I saw my name written with wobbly letters on the clay container and, I’m not going to lie, it was a fight: a physical one. Because the truth is, as soon as I felt the weight and firmness of this powerful material, I knew my underdeveloped chicken muscles are going to be up for an unequal encounter.
I am, despite my size, always intrigued by a challenge, so, after hours spent trying to homogenize an airless ball of clay, I sat behind the wheel and started crafting my first pot. Then another one, then a thinner one, then a little signature drawing on the bottom of the still damp clay. Afterwards it was time to test my patience: another weak spot of mine – waiting for the clay to dry…even using a hair drier, hot air, whatever you have at disposal to make the miracle happen. Moving further with the process I had to summon my naturally trembling fingers to stay still (a test to my abilities through and through). This all in an attempt to shape the so-called foot. Had I known a thing with such a simple name would be such fiddly business!
And then, after another drying session, came my absolute favorite part: glazing. How magical, variable and unpredictable is the world of glaze: its color depends on both the consistency of the mix and the duration of its contact with the pot. And it looks so different upon application compared to when you take it out of the oven.
Well, my sister and I ended up with a collection we named after the vast Ocean, corresponding to both the color and structure of the masses of water and the long sunny beaches somewhere far away, where non of us are able to go now but to which we can transport ourselves every time we use the pots or every time we feel the weight of the earthy, damp substance and the spin of the pottery wheel.