I touched clay for the first time less than 5 years ago. Since that glorious, destiny filled day, I have been addicted to it. What part of clay, you may ask, is so intoxicating? Well, to make order of my addiction, allow me to take this from the top. When I first open a new bag of earthenware, I plunge my head deep within the bag to take a big deep breath of all things earthy. The scent of the clay is something akin to that beautiful sweet smell that happens just after the rain in the mountains. It is at once filled with dirt, water, grass and sky. The scent is so heady to me that I lose myself for a moment, lost in memories of all the hikes I have taken in my heaven which goes by the name of North Carolina.
As I roll out the clay to fit it into a bowl for forming, I marvel at it's movement, the way it's smooths out onto the canvas and the feel of it beneath my hands. As I take the time to mold the clay, it is taking it's time molding me. I know, for certain, that clay has made me a better person. A calmer, more patient, loving individual. Earth has a way of doing that, if we just open up and allow it to do it's work.
When I roll out each coil and sculpt it in to the body of the piece, I love the feeling of anticipation, never knowing where the process is taking me. I always feel like I'm just along for the ride - never in control and, for once, not only enjoying the feeling but embracing it. The stress of living is long gone by this point; it's just me and the clay.
Next in my long list of addictions is the carving and burnishing of a piece. This can sometimes takes hours, days or weeks. I used to hurry through this step, impatient to see the finished product. But you know what? It just doesn't matter anymore. I have heard 1,000 times that the journey is more important than destination. Now, I finally get it. Each piece is a journey of it's own as well as a pathway to the next creation just waiting to be born.
The firing, smoking and polishing of the clay is another step that is full of excitement knowing that the piece is never, ever finished until it comes through the fire. Kind of like all of us. We must all go through the fire to become tempered, smoothed, soothed and wise......
Who would want to find a cure for that?