Thursday, May 16, 2013

Making time for doing what you love

waiting to be fired

Today I immersed myself in clay. Yes, this is both a figurative and a (quasi) literal statement--when I throw on the wheel, it becomes a full body sport. I know have dried clay on my cheek, in my hair, on my glasses, and spattered along my sleeves and on my leggings. This is with using a large apron and trying to be careful.

At least it's off-white clay. When the studio used to use terracotta, I would emerge looking like I was covered in dried blood.

Ahh, fun times. . .

Actually, it is fun times. I take classes once a week and sneak into the open studio hours whenever I can steal away another day. This is my therapy and my social support. It allows me to quiet the inner chatter that often has the power to take over and block my creativity. Ceramics allows me to create beautiful (and sometimes quirky) things with my hands and give those things to the people in my life. To know that a friend enjoys her morning tea in a mug I created brings me great joy.

It's also a process that I dive into without crippling expectation. I can't count the number of times I start out to throw a bowl or a cup and end up with a cow plop of formless clay that I need to scrape off the wheel and recycle. Sometimes I'll have a piece to trim (when it is shy of leather hard from air drying and I can shape a foot ring) and I cut through the bottom or fail to attach the piece well enough to the wheel and it flies off and smooshes on the floor. Other times, I'll glaze a finished piece and the colors are completely different from what I had planned. Ceramics is the one place I can let go of the outcome. There is something ultimately freeing about that.

Today I spent a day I might have devoted to writing and got messy in the studio instead. It was what I needed to do to feed the creativity. My husband comes home from his very stressful job and immediately goes out to the raised beds in the garden to tend his seedlings.  It's what he needs to decompress from the noise and the pressures. When he's spent some time in the silence of growing things, he's ready to transition to being with the family.

Whatever your daily life, I think it's vital to make time for the things you love. Even if that time is brief. This is a lesson I am learning over and over again.

What is it that you do to find your balance?


  1. I play a video game that requires alertness without much calculation. Or I go for a drive. If there aren't too many mosquitoes out and it's not too hot, I'll walk (I don't like bug spray).

    I love gardens, unfortunately don't like gardening. I'm about the sloppiest gardener in existence. I love working with clay, but haven't found a local person to fire anything I've made (ocarinas). :(

    Is it costly, getting a third party to fire clay?

    1. I'm with you on the gardening. It's hubby's thing, not mine. But I will force myself to help him on the weekend now and again.

      I don't know what it would cost to rent kiln space. Our studio won't fire anything other than its own students' work because of the possibility of problems matching the kiln times/temperatures to specific clay bodies and glazes. Things can blow up in the kiln ruining everything if there's a mix of clay types.

  2. Yeah, I read about that. Bubbles in poorly worked items cause that too. I do worry about bubbles in my ocarinas.

    Some day, maybe I'll get them fired.

  3. I think my crochet work tends to help me with decompressing and such. Plus the occasional sewing project (I need sewing lessons, especially because I'd really like to make/alter clothing). I like working with fiber and fabrics.
    I also rather miss working with clay, but I shall be content with fiber-crafting for the moment.