Homestead, Housecrafts
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Clay :: Lessons

Winter is setting in and since I currently keep my kick wheel on the front porch I have fewer and fewer opportunities to throw. This makes me rather sad. Such is the plight of a small country homeowner and young mama. A)Tiny house + big wheel B)Busy mama + bustling baby. Both factors are limiting. 

However, I try to throw and trim and glaze whenever I get the chance. I love working the craft. It’s a satisfying process for me. 

Pottery has become a deeply spiritual experience for me. I ask God before I throw, “Show me yourself. Show me how you are the Potter and how I am the clay. Mold and shape my life.”

This poor little pitcher was a flop. Chubby wubby was a pitcher, chubby wubby was its handle. If you ever make a handle, don’t do it like that. I keep pieces like this so that I can examine my mistakes and experiment with the firing process; on this pitcher I’ve experimented for the first time with my underglaze watercolors. 

When a pot flops, that means the clay is retaining a good bit of moisture while being centered and/or shaped on the wheel. Too much moisture causes the clay to pull apart rather than pull together. Does that make sense? In this case, I wasn’t shaping well and the clay was loose so it began to sink and flatten out at the bottom. I think that as the clay warbled that squiggle appeared. Little things like that I wish I could recreate as a signature! 

This pitcher reminds me of how our flops and failures (unwise choices or misunderstandings) don’t limit God from continuing to work us into something useful (it’s still a pitcher that pours đŸ˜‰ ). Our squiggles are sometimes God’s bit of signature flare in our lives (a charming quality or unique skill). 

When this bowl was leather hard, it was a bit too dry so while trimming my tool started to “chatter,” an actual ceramic term. The chattering created this rippled effect, and I’ve glazed it with a speckeled gray blue. But you know what’s interesting about glazing? You never know what you’ll get. I haven’t used this glaze on stoneware yet, so it’s an experiment. 

We never know how the work God is doing in our own lives is going to turn out either. We await his process and purposes with hope and expectation. This is faith. We have faith that He’ll make our lives worth something, useful, meaningful, beautiful. 

This last piece is a small plate. Smooth in the center and at the edge with a rough laced rim. It was kind of a mistake and kind of not as I glided my ribbing tool across the surface. I liked the rough edge in contrast to the solid smoothness. It made me think how our own lives have rough edges that we’re accepting as well as honing. 

This is the first post about my work in months, and I should do it more often since this is why I created the blog- to write about my “clay life” after Heidi died. I couldn’t have been more thrown on the wheel of life by her sudden passing and my wounded mama’s heart. But God has seen me through, he is working me through, he has been lovingly shaping my life as a useful vessel. My life did not fly off his wheel and smash into a thousand pieces though I thought it would. My life is still clay in the hands of the Potter, and I know he has steadily held on to me. 

In the hands of the potter,

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