Thursday, 24 June 2010

Things Take On A Life Of Their Own

I'm still in sock creature mode. Some lovely friends have asked me to make some for them. If I wanted to big myself up a bit I could call it a commission. Either way, I am completely chuffed to have been asked.

Since they are going to be given away as presents I had better not reveal too much here. You never know who's looking, and I wouldn't want to spoil any surprises.

When I visited my best friend in London last weekend she was displaying flowers in a tall vase I had made for her. I used to go to a pottery class when we lived in Cumbria. Actually it wasn't so much a class as a space in which to experiment with clay, with a very experienced potter on hand for guidance. I loved it with a passion and I hope I can take it up again sometime. It was such a messy, tactile experience. The clay felt heavy, pliable and yet resistant. Although the potter, with his thirty-odd years of sculpting and throwing could make the clay obey him. It literally surrendered to the movements of his hands.

The processes seemed like a kind of alchemy to me. From this grey, earthy lump to a pinkish and lighter, biscuit-fired form. Then coated in liquefied, dull minerals which magically transformed into glossy, glassy, translucent colours after firing in unimaginable heat. The whole craft was an incredible marriage of primitive and intuitive with technical and scientific. Mind blowing.

Seeing this vase again, to my eyes it had a charm to it but it was also clumsy and lacking the grace I had envisioned when I was designing it. How often is that the way? So gratifying though, to see something I had made having been integrated into my friend's day to day life. Like the tea cosy I knitted for her a couple of Christmases ago, sitting askew on her teapot.

Making stuff is engrossing and satisfying. Giving stuff away and seeing it take on a life of its own is beyond gratifying.

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