Learning to be fearless

I find that life is a lot like making pots. You spend most of your time trying to make that idea in your head into a real thing you can wrap your hands around. Searching for the perfect job, the perfect relationship, the perfect house… the perfect pot. After much work, you get what you wanted, but it wasn’t what you expected… it turns out that the pot you get out of the kiln isn’t much like what you had in mind. Or after you think you've got it, something goes wrong. After struggling for years you have a moment of perfect understanding and peace… you sit at the wheel and make gorgeous pots effortlessly… and then the moment is gone. I’ve learned that life, like making pots, is about embracing failure. Not being afraid to fail frees us to spread our wings a bit farther, push the clay a bit more… it might collapse… or it might yield a beautiful pot! So it is with life. Looking back I see how fear kept me from much joy. I am learning to be fearless now!

I discovered my love of ceramics in 1992 when, on a whim, I signed up for a pottery class. Although at the time I was working full time and raising my family, I continued to take classes and workshops, honing my skills and dreaming of the day I could devote myself to clay. That day came when I retired in 2007.

Until 2014, my studio was the 10ft by 12ft structure that you see in the photos. This year, my husband built an addition to the studio so that it is now a "huge" 10ft by 20ft. I feel so lucky to have so much space now! The studio houses a wheel, a kiln, a pugmill, a wedging table, several work tables, a small slab roller and more.

I do everything in the studio, from wedging the clay to firing the kiln. I also do all the marketing, selling and packing. However, there’s someone else who is vital to Glynt Pottery and that’s my husband, Chris. He is my greatest fan and support. He encouraged me to take the class in 1992 and then surprised me with a pottery wheel that Christmas. In addition to providing legal representation and IT support, Chris does much of the equipment and studio maintenance and keeps the books. He also helps me carry heavy boxes of clay and pots, and set up and break down for shows.

Several years ago, I was fortunate to be able to hold in my hands a 1000-year-old Chinese pot at the Freer Gallery in Washington, D.C. Feeling the pot's weight and tracing the marks left by that ancient potter was a powerful and uplifting experience because I felt that the pot was able to connect me to the unknown potter of centuries past. I believe that these connections between the maker and the user explain the attraction of handmade pottery and handmade work in general.

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