Summertime, and it’s easy to get caught up in the swirl of passing days, they are long, and blend into one another as if the calendar itself is melting. The fleeting cool nights are often spent working too, wheel spinning, clay trimming, pots firing. It is usually four in the morning when I put the kiln in ‘reduction’ to begin the consequential part of the process – chemically altering the atmosphere swirling around the white-hot pots, enriching the glaze colors, darkening the claybody.
All of this is good. The days fly by. Unloading the kiln the other day I took a moment to study some of the work emerging from it – I noted that students in Green River Pottery’s new studio for classes are making beautiful, personal, radiant, contemplative, humorous, pots. A good sign! I like to say that what matters most is how things feel when you’re working, not what work you produce – I’m not a fan of the word ‘product’ – still. Click on some of these images above, these ‘products’ of student effort over the last month or so.
In a similar way, I can scroll through a file of images downloaded from my phone over the last month or six weeks – a record of the swirl, the passing melting days, the fleeting events, rainstorms, road trips, concerts, long afternoons. Here: heading up a favorite highway, passing San Antonio Mountain & entering Colorado, en route to the Arkansas River…
Or here, catching the last rays of summer sun in a cottonwood tree along the highway to Albuquerque. En route to the Sunshine Theater.
I love stopping to see those cottonwoods, they are never the same twice. The air, the light, the changing time of year – this is all recorded in the form & feel of those trees when you get close to them. Times when I retreat to my own studio to get back in step with my own work & make a few pieces I keep this in mind – a good pot is like those cottonwoods – has a life of its own, still seeming to evolve, never the same two different times you encounter it. I sit at the wheel – or stand – and try to keep up –
– and try to keep up with what’s going on across the street in the teaching studio too. I leave a dusty track of footsteps in the street between ‘my’ studio and the ‘teaching’ studio every day. Convenient to be so close to Iconik Coffee Roasters – and to have a little space – just enough – to set work outdoors for quick drying.
At concerts I try to resist taking pictures but this one time – at the Sunshine – I couldn’t resist. Many potters have remarked on the close relationship between music and work in clay – what is up with that? Not sure, but, the more often I steal away from ‘work’ to go hear music, the better my work gets.
One of the last pictures from my summer phone download. A low ceiling in the San Luis Valley – staying up to speed nevertheless.