Stepping consciously into any relationship calls for respect and reverence, especially when you know the interdependence may be decades long. There is a manner of approach and a tone to set in the first visit. Set as a foundation for carrying through the beautiful days, the turbulent currents that toss us about, and the darkest nights of the soul too. A foundation that holds the rub and friction between and anchors into a knowing of Being, working, and creating *Together*
When it comes to cars, washing machines, cooking stoves, or potter's wheels it is no different. Stones, trees, pets, and people it is no different. Some baulk at such anthropomorphism and foster a belief of inanimate "other", yet an animistic lifestyle has been the norm for most of our human existence. Even traced through our art to 40,000 years ago. There is an essence to all things, and that essence can be communicated with. Relationships fostered and tended to. A reciprocity to be maintained.
So sitting for the first time at this new wheel, knowing their reputation for longevity, knowing how many hours we will spend together, knowing the intention is to co-create ritual wares and intentional ceramics where even a cereal bowl might have a medicinal or harmonizing affect ~ to do so with ceremony was appropriate.
It was simple. potent. personal.
The fire was lit, herbs were burned, my medicine bundle and heart engaged, introductions were made and exchanges occurred.
Then 3 small cauldrons for our work here at the Selkie Sanctuary began their creation journey.
Thank you for witnessing and tender holding of walking in these soul-filled ways. May friends in all their forms speak with you too.
* I've been posting heaps on Instagram over at @selkie_sanctuary if you are into hyperlapse videos of mud being thrown, giddy kiln discoveries, and following along as ceremonial ceramics are created.
It's a good way to put your name in early to adopt a piece too
My bubble buddy, and new friend at the fine arts centre has watched me patch up "clay fails" and creatively tend to mishaps that would make most potters cringe and scoff. Generally the idea of being so attached to a piece that one tries to save it is relegated to noobs who could use practice in 'just make another' don't waste your time and learn through the doing.
Most serious potters tend to toss imperfect greenware into the Reclaim Bucket, or smash Bisqued and Glazed pieces into the ceramic graveyard of mosaic hopefuls and archeologist dreams. I create with intention but keep very close the knowing the life of a piece may be found short at any moment. But I can't say it is non-attachment, for surely it isn't.
One swift movement, jerk of a hand, hidden air bubble, too hot and dry air too soon, too cold air too soon, a poor dip or drip, a fusion to a kiln shelf, catch of a finger nail, an exploding kiln neighbour, ripped out bottom or snapped off handle, each can spell death to a piece, and I will love each for as long as they live just the same. And just like those parts of ourselves that feel broken or dreams we thought were destined for the reclaim bucket or graveyard - sometimes we can put our perfectionism and consumer conditioning aside and love it back - again and again if we must. I remember being very small and looking closely at a plastic horse that I had, noticing how the eye paint was askew and there were chunky bits along the mould seam. I knew that no one had touched it when it was being made, no one had cared for it or noticed its details. There was a sad vacancy and I wanted to love that little horse more to make up for it somehow. I hadn't read it yet, but knew Velveteen Rabbits were real.
Perhaps that is why I hesitate to toss so easily into the reclaim bucket, why I slow-cook and hand stitch aspects of my life together. If you know me though, you know I am a strong advocate for letting things die when it is time. Perhaps surprisingly so. But some things quietly call for being loved back to life. This piece was gifted to me half a foot away from the Reclaim Bucket. As you can see, so far it has been resuscitated at least twice and it certainly isn't out of the woods yet. Some of my pieces hold this story of reclamation with them and I softly wonder if anyone might feel it.
If they don't, that is okay. I do.
I didn't hyperspeed this up because reclaiming by way of loving takes a little time - as it should.