After beautifully trimming the bottom of my treasured bowl, I tried to pick it up by the thin, delicate top.
And I crushed it.
So sad, I turned my damaged bowl right side up.
The perfect, even and graceful rim was now broken
Unevenly with jagged edges.
I thought, I will glue the little pieces on.
But then, an angel stepped in.
He showed me, among his “perfect” pots,
one pot with a broken edge-
having a place, just as visible as the rest.
The rough edges were uneven and gentle
and added a character to the pot than none others had.
I thought of my imperfect, invaded and scarred body
and feeling like the injured and beautiful pot,
I felt like crying.
It wasn’t clear then why.
All I knew was, when I looked at my broken bowl again.
I wanted to keep it, just as it was.
Wendy Kochenthal, IN LOVE WITH WORDS &CLAY
16 Rainbow Ridge Lane, Swannanoa, NC 28778
e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org (printed with permission)
We are all Clay Bodies
Be present: When I sit at my wheel everything else is out of my mind, but the pot to throw. Find bliss in the moment and empty your mind of the past and future
Find your center: A ball of clay must spin perfectly on a wheel, not being centered results in a clumsy off kiltered, jolting movement for the potter. When we aren’t centered in our bodies, our weight not evenly distributed, it causes an imbalance that has a domino effect felt throughout our bodies.
Know when to stop: After centering your clay you must open the ball, going down too deep creates a thin bottom is a wasted effort. Practice does make perfect, haste makes waste and all those other clichés your mom was right about. Similar to focusing on the Serenity Prayer throughout you day. Know what you can do, what you can’t and the wisdom to stop, back away, refrain, refocus and move on.
Acknowledge impurities: The potter must feel for particles in the clay that could cause flaws, create weakness, and damage the end product. Taking time each day to recognize for signs of muscle tightness and fatigue helps you to know your body. Pushing on and ignoring pain will cause you injury down the road.
Improvise your imperfections: A damaged pot is just the opportunity to create a unique work of art. We all come with imperfections that can help us achieve our greatest moments. Accept, celebrate and be kind to yourself. And treat your clients as awesome survivors who do well with the imperfections of their bodies.
Create your dreams: To design a beautiful pot develops your sense of play and creativity. Be creative. Strive to reach your dreams. Never give up, but sometimes you need to step back, regroup, redirect your energies so that you are not pounding on concrete with your bare hands.
Be smart: Never use low fire clay in a high fire kiln. Never fire a pot before it is ready. Never open a kiln until it is cooled. Never use the wrong glaze. So many rules to follow. There are some rules that can be broken and some that can’t. Cause and effect happens. Life is harder when we don’t learn from our mistakes. As imperfect beings we do so make the same mistakes over and over again until we do our own 12 steps of move on and let go.
Recognize beauty: Fill your world with your creations. Delight in your works of art for yourself and others. Take time to look around and see all that you have been apart of and celebrate your life; the grandchild running to you, the glorius sunset, the reflection of the bird flying across the pond, the smell of fresh cut flowers. Participating in a survivor event and watching 700 woman dance to “I Will Survive” is a canvas of strength and beauty.
Glazes are personal choices. Some people create pots that are rainbows of colors, others love pots that are soft and subdued. We are all unique with our special talents, thoughts and beliefs.
Balance your life: A 3-legged stool offers the strongest support. We must nurture our mind, bodies and spiritual lives to feel that sense of balance we all strive for.
Give thanks to the Fire-God: When all is done, your pot goes in the kiln and what will be, will be. Everyday give thanks and gratitude for the god within you.
Celebrate your achievement: To take a piece of clay and go through the wedging, throwing, designing, glazing and firing process and create a beautiful finished produce is an achievement. Especially when you consider what can go wrong during the entire process. So when all is said and done make a difference where you can. In your heart, acknowledge the good you have done. -Toni Muirhead, LMT
During the transistion to our new home and work, I found a studio and created. It was obvious that I missed massaging bodies and put all that energy into claybodies.