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First of the Year


A cliche title, I know. And this is a pretty cliche picture, too, though I did snap it pretty close to January one – that’s Sandia Crest in the far background, with Bandelier in the middle distance. It is late morning, I am on skis, having ascended steeply through the forest to arrive at this spot where I’m standing, holding a camera (okay a phone). First of the year.

Time for a new start. Everyone always thinks this way, as the New Year rolls around, now things are going to be different…the fact is that for the potter, maybe for any kind of artist, getting back to work, getting back to studio again after a time away, is more a matter of picking up where you left off – reconnecting with what you were doing – than of starting fresh. You’re almost more moving backwards than moving forwards. Maybe especially with clay, where the sense of archetypal enduring form, and the presence of the potters who went before, is always palpable as you work. In a good way.

Plus – clay – this lump I’ll reach for when I’m down from skiing & step into the studio again – was rock, once, and before that, maybe it was part of an ocean floor and before that…clay again. Back in a way-earlier geologic era. For me the sense of the past, or more exactly, of stepping out of time completely, is tied up with being at work. Making things. Nothing’s ever really new, and there’s no first of the year.


Nevertheless. I have unloaded some good new pots from the kiln – a couple of these pieces represent – can I say it – new design ideas and…the shino glaze on this bowl? there’s something new about it. It hasn’t behaved quite like this before, been quite this warm, resonant, deep.

And! A new website, those of you who have visited in the past will see. It’s a new start on a simpler, cleaner, platform. Bear with me as I get all the on-line pieces in place…

It’s essential, in a creative life, to have a rhythm – to artificially make makers, boundaries, closures & new starts. Without them work is overwhelming – always so much to do, and every time you pick up where you left off there’s more, and no end in sight, it’ll take more than one lifetime to do what you want to do.

Maybe the markers aren’t real but you need them anyway – first of the year – like reaching the top on your skis & pausing to take pictures before starting the descent, these endings and beginnings you can assign amid the endless motion are pretty much all you have.

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