Sunday, February 21, 2010

Pots, Money, and the Making of Both

When I was three, my favourite place to be was in the sandbox, we had a great deposit of clay that ran through my sandbox. I was forever digging holes, and getting the clay out. As you can see from this photo, I had an accomplice in Keith. I am quite sure we were the bane of my mother's existance, as this is also the only route to our back door! You certainly wouldn't want to traverse this path in the dark!  
Throughout my early childhood Clay was a constant. My mother was a ceramics teacher, there were kilns in my basement and an endless parade of ladies coming to pick out their greenware, paint and gossip over tea in my mom's studio. There was always a block of clay on the shelf, and sometimes my mom would give me a piece to play with. It would seem that my path toward life as a potter should have been straight as an arrow, but it has not been so. Life got in the way, continuously.Its not like I ever intended to spend the sixteen years since leaving the clay studio at NBCCD doing everything but making pots. But kids, marriage and subsequent divorce, sent me in a very different direction.
I spent the next eight years in the pursuit of $$$ to make ends meet. To pay the bills, to feed the kids. I worked many jobs in that time, some not so bad, some not so good.  None of them paid all the bills, none of them fed my soul. I was terribly unhappy, the kids were terribly unhappy and the ends were definitely not meeting, not even close. Nearly two years ago when my life was in the hole, a dear friend encouraged me to grasp at happiness, to choose to make my art, and to put it out into the world. She threw in the added incentive of cheap living space and studio room......It was a scary thing to do, but so worth it in the end. The ends are creeping closer together, the bills are closer to manageable (still a ways to go!) But the kids and I are happy, the pots are being made, and I supplement the cash flow teaching others to make pots. I may never be rich, but I am edging towards breaking even, one teabowl at a time.
At forty my favourite place to be is the mudroom, the clay is a bit more refined, the mudpies have evolved into porcelain pots, but at the end of the day the feeling of satisfaction is the same. I am a maker, it was meant to be.