Sunday, February 7, 2016

Mother Potter

 Ya'll, I had a baby. It's perhaps the biggest and by far the best project I have ever done, and it seems to change constantly. Having a child has put me in my place and taught me that I am not really in charge of my life, but also to step back and realize that I don't HAVE to fire a kiln every month, or get torn up that I am not in the studio every day. These revelations, as much as they make sense, have taken me a long time to really accept.
My one year old!
Mattias, my son, turned one last weekend and I have been reflecting a lot on the last year. To be honest, this past year has been mentally challenging to me on several fronts. As a female potter, I had several, if not numerous, people ask me before my baby came whether I was going to give up pottery entirely. I've had people assume that when the baby came, I wouldn't be doing any shows, firing any kilns, or selling pots. Perhaps it's a bit of feminism embedded in me, but all of those things were things that I did NOT want to happen, and I would bristle a bit every time someone would assume a mother has to give everything up once baby comes.
Sleeping baby with arcs of wadding.

Making dishes! 

I was blessed at the beginning of my motherhood roller coaster that my son gave me the opportunity to make lots of pots. I got to fire with other potters in three kilns over the spring and summer.
Anne Partna of Blue Hen Pottery with Mattias at a firing of her kiln. 

Mattias in front of the freshly fired kiln at Joseph Sand Pottery
It was a good opportunity to introduce my son to new kiln designs, for him to meet new people, and for me to feel like I was kind of in the groove of things. When I couldn't get lids for jars finished for almost two weeks (having to keep said jars damp the entire time), it was nerve wracking. That case, especially, showed me patience. I did one show at the Old Salem Pottery Fair on the Square.
Mattias an I next to my kiln.

However, when I got to load up my own kiln, though, that was a totally different experience and feeling. It was exhilarating and cathartic, kind of like giving birth to a child.
New vases in 2016.

I've been back in the studio this year, but I may be stepping back from my schedule that I kept several years ago of firing every 4-6 weeks. Perhaps I will only fire 2-3 times each year, but I have decided that it will be better to concentrate on my new family member and use the time I have in the studio to make pots that I enjoy or want to try out. Stay tuned, there's more news to come. Here's to life's adventures!


Dennis Allen said...

People ask the strangest things. When Tina was carrying our first child people would ask if we were going to get rid of the dog!I don't know how he would have learned to pull himself up and walk without that curly coat to hold onto. Two weeks after he was born he was taking a college class with his Mom.I think the best parenting involves kids in your life instead of making you give up other things you love.From what I see, you are doing a great job.

Anonymous said...

Gustavo Woltmann thinks that this is great. Congrats!!!

Liberty Stoneware said...

Thanks, Dennis and Gustavo. People do ask the strangest things sometimes, this is true. Dennis, I like your approach of the best parenting being your kids' involvement in your life, and subsequently learning that their parents have lives, than to give up different aspects of life because you have kids.

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