"Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost." ~ Helen Keller
The past month was spent continuing with my apprenticeship in WV as well as preparing for and firing the Anagama of potters Catherine White and Warren Frederick. As we completed the loading of the wood kiln and I began my two hour drive returning to Maryland I touched on my anticipation and excitement for the wood firing and the new work to be made. The moment of seeing all the work between us artists and the complexity of the stack and the purpose of each piece in relationship to the other was inspiring and at the same time overwhelming. I realized that I was feeling overstimulated between all the artists that I had been working with and all the pottery that I had been exposed to. This will continue to be a struggle for me as I am fortunate to have all these amazing artists in my life, but must find balance in what they each do and what I aspire to do.
I took my usual midnight to 3am shift...this time very different from the freezing temperatures of last year's firing and the early setting of the sun. It was refreshing and exciting to spend the nights (or should I say mornings) sleeping in my tent set up in the field...a firing tradition I attempt to continue when the weather will permit.
These firings are a reminder of what I love to do and why I love to do it...the reasons not revolving around the beautiful pots that result or the soft surfaces of the flame and wood ash. Instead, they are the experience: the long hours of work, the lunch breaks of watermelon and laughs, and the conversations and questions that motivate and inspire me as I continue on this path to make good work. Each piece of work a reminder of where and what experience they came from...
The year of 2012 was filled with many blessings and many great opportunities to fire...the greatest was bringing in that year with a New Year's Eve Firing at Butterfly Bend Pottery. I was also able to be a part of Kevin Crowe's May wood firing, my first firing with Catherine White and Warren Frederick in VA, and a new firing with Steve VanVoorhees in PA and some close clay friends. 2012 was a year of the gypsy potter...
2013 is going to be another great year as we prepare to fire the wood kiln at Butterfly Bend Pottery once again. I'm looking forward to being a part of such a special experience....it is my constant reminder of what makes wood firing and being a potter such a wonderful blessing. The opportunity to create not only new work with refreshing surfaces, but to also create new relationships and new memories. As we stack wood, glaze and wad pots, and load the kiln I am reminded of New Year 2012 and anticipating what the 2013 firing will bring!