The winter weather we experienced this past weekend along the Eastern Seaboard is one of those storms that is hard to fully appreciate until you are living through it. I’ve weathered snow, rain, blizzards, a small hurricane and even a derecho in my lifetime, but the appropriately named Blizzard of 2016 called Jonas – has been jaw-dropping. So what does this have to do with art or clay? The simple answer is: nothing and everything.
The storm did not deter me from my regular routine. I was able to continue to create in my studio and sit by the fire and knit even while three feet of snow (give or take) fell and the winds whipped outside for about 36 hours straight.
When the sun finally came out, and we could venture past our driveway (which has been continuously shoveled by my husband and ‘snow-blowed’ by our next door neighbor throughout the storm), the reality of limited movement in deep snow was quickly evident. Even snowplows were getting stuck so only a patchwork of moveable paths are available for maneuvering. It’s going to take days to dig out completely. During this sort of crisis, people –-neighbors –- band together and the community spirit is in full force. Walking the dog has led to numerous conversations with neighbors I’ve never met before.
So back to the connection between nature, art and clay. I have an affinity for achieving an organic feeling to my clay creations. When I first learned to throw pots on a wheel, I worked to eliminate any evidence of finger marks on the clay. There was rigidity in my pieces. But I liked the more natural shapes that I saw and aspired to interpret that in my own pieces. Once I began hand building and loosening my stringent tendencies, I’ve begun to achieve a more natural feel for my finished art.
This week, I’m reminded of the power of nature in our lives. It can disrupt our routines and shake us out of our habits. It can help neighbors meet new neighbors. It can band people together with a common goal. Nature is powerful, beautiful and sometimes unpredictable. Reflecting those attributes in my clay art is an ongoing practice.