The Addiction To Which There is NO Cure

I touched clay for the first time less than 5 years ago.  Since that glorious, destiny filled day, I have been addicted to it.  What part of clay, you may ask, is so intoxicating? Well, to make order of my addiction, allow me to take this from the top.

When I first open a new bag of earthenware, I plunge my head deep within the bag to take a big deep breath of all things earthy.  The scent of the clay is something akin to that beautiful sweet smell that happens just after the rain in the mountains.  It is at once filled with dirt, water, grass and sky.  The scent is so heady to me that I lose myself for a moment, lost in memories of all the hikes I have taken in my heaven which goes by the name of North Carolina.

As I roll out the clay to fit it into a bowl for forming, I marvel at it’s movement, the way it’s smooths out onto the canvas and the feel of it beneath my hands.  As I take the time to mold the clay, it is taking it’s time molding me.  I know, for certain, that clay has made me a better person.  A calmer, more patient, loving individual.  Earth has a way of doing that, if we just open up and allow it to do it’s work.

When I roll out each coil and sculpt it in to the body of the piece, I love the feeling of anticipation, never knowing where the process is taking me.  I always feel like I’m just along for the ride – never in control and, for once, not only enjoying the feeling but embracing it.  The stress of living is long gone by this point; it’s just me and the clay.

Next in my long list of addictions is the carving and burnishing of a piece.  This can sometimes takes hours, days or weeks.  I used to hurry through this step, impatient to see the finished product.  But you know what?  It just doesn’t matter anymore.  I have heard 1,000 times that the journey is more important than destination.  Now, I finally get it.  Each piece is a journey of it’s own as well as a pathway to the next creation just waiting to be born.

The firing, smoking and polishing of the clay is another step that is full of excitement knowing that the piece is never, ever finished until it comes through the fire.  Kind of like all of us.  We must all go through the fire to become tempered, smoothed, soothed and wise……

Who would want to find a cure for that?

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5 comments on “The Addiction To Which There is NO Cure

  1. David Ponsler says:

    Hot bronze being forged is so similar yet so different. some have stated that my forged bronze sculpture looks like clay or even leather. You have to approach it so differently. Oh i wish I could feel it during the process but at 1,600 degrees that’s just not a good idea. You can kind of be one with it but you have to keep your distance and be respectful an it certainly has it’s limits and if disrespected it will crumble. Those subtle flowing lines have to be rendered with hammers on anvil but it’s really no different than thumbs and table The renowned Canadian jeweler Charles Lewton-Brain says, “think of metal as clay” as it moves very much the same. If your curious there is a you tube video from 2007 of me working bronze in this manner. Just search David Ponsler and it should pop up.
    Thanks for your words Lucy!

    • lucyac says:

      David –
      That is wonderful to know – I had no idea. I will definitely view your video and would really like to visit you at your studio soon. My show schedule is finished for the spring so my time is a little more my own.

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