Pottery for me is not a pursuit of glory, but a daily discipline of pursuing accuracy. In India it would be called my Dharma. Life is dual. There is matter and spirit and one cannot function completely without the other. For creativity, the spirit side, to work, the matter side must be strong enough to hold the spirit side. If the form has cracks, the spirit leaks.
I stumbled upon the quote above while I was perusing Pinterest for interesting clay forms and shapes and inspirations. I’ve been reading about Beatrice Wood and her life as an artist and I became more curious about the woman who lived to be 105. She lived a long and varied life, with much of it focused on art and artistic expression. I find it interesting that she became a potter by accident. She had purchased plates that with a luster glaze. When she couldn’t find a matching tea pot, she decided to make her own. That ideal totally appealed to me.
I am an accidental potter. I found a deep connection with clay art forms during my last two semesters at the University of Central Florida. You see, my focus was on photography. I love taking pictures and capturing special and unrepeatable moments in time. I adore capturing history in the making then creating beautiful prints in black and white. Photography was what drove me to pursue my degree in studio art. I only took the ceramics classes because I’d already completed the beginner course while working on my associates degree at Valencia. It was easier to add the higher level ceramics classes than to start again with a different medium once I was at UCF.
I took the intermediate course and that was when I learned to throw. It was challenging. It was frustrating, but I made some decent looking objects. At that time in my life, it was really difficult to spend a lot of hours in studio. I live about 45 minutes away from campus, and with an elementary-aged kiddo, time was precious and had to be divided differently than a typical student.
I sort of cruised through my first semester of advanced, but it was during my repeat of advanced ceramics that things started to click. I would definitely consider it an artist’s epiphany of sorts. I always thought that photography would be my mainstay in the artistic world, but thanks to Hadi and some wonderful fellow students who helped me push my own boundaries, here I am.
I am an accidental potter, who like Beatrice Wood, found clay unexpectedly.
Of course I didn’t know i needed it, but isn’t that how we find some of the most amazing things and people in our lives? A friend recently accomplished something and my words to him were, “Sometimes it’s hard to see what others know you can accomplish.”. It couldn’t be more fitting.
Here’s to you Beatrice! May your story and wisdom inspire others as it has inspired me.
A beautiful day to all of you!
I found my biographical info here: