When’s the last time you learned something new? It could have been a formal class, or just an informal encounter. If you think about it and are open to it, I bet you realize you are constantly enlightened with new skills and knowledge.
One reason I like to publicly demonstrate my clay-making skills is to share the process with people. Many people I encounter simply use pottery and never really understand how it is created; others might dabble or professionally create their own pottery. These interactions are fun. People like to watch and talk about any past experience they may have had with clay or art; experienced potters like to share some of their own clay knowledge with me. While I demonstrate, I explain the steps of making a clay vessel and hopefully help novices understand the value of creating a useful object from a lump of clay. I always learn from these encounters as well. People offer useful ideas for shapes, lend me the bottom of their shoes for new texture designs (I always bring extra clay to make new stamps this way!) and remind me how lucky I am to do what I love.
This past week I demonstrated my clay-making during a First Friday event at The Cooley Gallery in Leesburg, Virginia. They just began selling my clay creations. I showed how I make my yarn bowls. These showcase lots of applied texture and require some interesting assembly. I even use a small rubber ball to form the bowl which piques interest. Lots of people attended; I experienced great interactions with the attendees but there was one memorable patron in particular that caught my attention. He asked why I was showing the gallery owner how I make pottery because he should ‘know everything already.’ Nah. Not true. In pottery, there is ALWAYS room to learn and grow. This is one reason I love working in this medium. Plus it reflects so much of life. I’ll never stop learning and am happy to admit I don’t know it all.