Thursday, July 18, 2013

Getting All My Vices in One Room: Gathering

Last September, I took up pottery/ceramics to overcome a bad past experience and to push my comfort zone. The story begins while I was living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in the mid-1980s, I took a ceramics class at Louisiana State University. I had always loved and collected pottery so I thought I would give it another try (a class in high school was my first but only involved hand building). The teacher was not the most encouraging person on the planet. We used kick wheels and she did not embrace the philosophy that everyone is built differently and needs to figure out what works for them. She was more "my way or the highway" kind of teacher. She actually told me that I was not cut out for clay. I was young and believed her. Fortunately, she did not kill my love of clay. Taking pottery up again is helping me slay yet another dragon of my past.

I have been trying to figure out how to combine my love of quilts with my rediscovered love of clay. If someone had told me that I would be sculpting faces, I would have told them that they were crazy and yet, here I am. This is the first of my series. It's called "Gathering Stillness" because it is something I am trying to accomplish. Today I dyed the clay with indigo and the look is just about what I wanted. Tomorrow I will dip her again in the vat to see if I can get her a little more blue. And yes, I know that potters use glazes but who made up those rules? I finished the quilt that I will attach (the holes at the bottom) tonight and will share soon. Next is "Gathering Grief" then "Gathering Joy." I am so excited that I can hardly sleep. I love this new direction!

Update: I thought I would just answer questions here in case others are interested.

-I choose to do scarification because it has always fascinated me and I wanted to show that we all have scars.

-I choose to dye her because I was looking for an effect that I did not think I could get from glazes or oxides. I tested a feather I made first. I love how it turned out.

-This was my third attempt. The first one the top of the head shattered. The second one the entire head exploded in the kiln. With help from Jon, we figured out that it was the newspaper I was using. It was holding moisture. I almost gave up but the idea kept me moving forward.

This is my Off the Wall Friday post.


  1. I think you are onto something significant . . .

  2. Julie, Thanks! It definitely feels that way. Hugs.

  3. Good that you did not give up on clay. This is a powerful piece. Looking forward to more... Developing trust in our own path, despite what others may say, seems to be part of maturity, doesn't it?

    1. Thanks. Oh, yes indeed! Getting older does have it benefits.


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