For the last year plus, I set aside my love for clay. I just can’t call it pottery anymore because I don’t only throw bowls, platters, mugs, and plates now. I sculpt with it. I make a canvas out of clay and draw on it with glaze, creating magical paintings.
This break from clay began when I quit my old career. I felt like I needed to give everything to my writing and my new publishing business, so clay was set aside. And it was okay. I knew I would return when the time was right.
Well, the time has returned, and I’m back. That first night back in my beloved studio with other artists was a bit of a surprise. I discovered the shelf where I kept my tools going back many years had been cleaned out and thrown away. Everything I had assembled was gone. Even more shocking, few of my old friends were around. It was as if a hurricane had hit the studio and swept everything I loved away.
Except me and the clay.
I had to start over. Borrow tools. Find a new shelf.
The clay was the same though, that same mixture of strength and flexibility which allows me to mold it into something special that holds its shape over time.
But I wasn’t the same.
I sat down at the wheel for the first time in two years and wasn’t sure I could throw anymore. I had been sculpting and doing canvas on clay in the time before I had taken a break.
I wedged a modest amount of clay and centered it on the wheel. I stared at the lump without turning the wheel on to start my dance with centrifugal force. Then I hit the switch.
And was surprised. I hadn’t really forgotten how to do anything, and even better, I was ready to integrate my new talents with sculpture into my work on the wheel.
My first piece back is a coffee mug with a mermaid sculpted on the side. When she came out of the kiln a few days ago, I was elated. I’d returned to what I loved and produced something new because of all the gifts I’d integrated in my time away.
Happiness is Returning.
The return wasn’t perfect. My community, my place in the studio had been severed. But the clay was there, waiting for me.
I create with words all the time as a writer, something I’m doing even now, but I adore creating with something solid, something that isn’t language. It still touches the soul. The modality doesn’t change that.
What have you stopped doing that you loved that you haven’t returned to? Are you like I was thinking you might not be able to do it anymore?
Give it a try again. You might just find how happy your return to it makes you.
Image courtesy of Photokanok at FreeDigitalPhotos.net