During my month of transition from this phase of my life to the next new journey, I took a ceramics class up at Baltimore Clayworks. I’ve always had an acute tactile awareness, which is partly why I’m so drawn to textiles and ceramics. So I thought it would be good for me to learn the wheel at last.
This is part of a longer process for me of reclaiming a sense of belonging and freedom in visual art. It’s so creatively enlivening to explore these second mediums — ceramics and drawing and film photography. It adds a loosening and layering to my primary creative work in fiction.
Learning the pottery wheel wound up being particularly apt at this moment as I get ready for my research trip, which includes a study of Japanese ceramics.
And I love this little olive dish I made. It’s being bisqued while I’m away, and when I come home in March, I’ll glaze it and send it downstairs to the kiln to be finished.
This weekend I finally made it over to Baltimore Clayworks’ annual Seconds Sale in Mt. Washington. Some of the pieces were nearly flawless, clearly overstocks and donations. But even the obvious seconds — misshapen, with drips of glaze — had an appealingly hand-wrought quality. They offered a glimpse into process, a touchpoint. Given that I always want to touch the pieces at ceramic exhibits, at this sale, I touched nearly everything. It felt nice to move through that airy space, letting the ceramics’ shapes fill my hands, feeling that variety of heft and texture.
If you haven’t been before, mark your calendars for next summer. A fundraiser for Clayworks, the sale includes seconds, overstock, and pieces donated by its students. And it includes lots of them. Even on Saturday evening, well into the weekend-long event, there were still tables and shelves packed with great pieces. This sale thrives on its stylistic variety and its (very) low price points.
I wish I’d made it back Sunday night for the end-of-weekend box sale. It would have been great to pick up a couple more pieces.