Why is Pottery Good for you?
Last Friday nightnat our BoontonMud location, we had a great amount of foot traffic due to Boonton Main Street’s First Friday Music on Main and the Boonton Arts Dog Days of Summer Opening Night! Over 150 neighbors came in with the lure of Adult Beverages, Cheese and Music Trivia! But once inside our muddy walls, Maddie and I often heard “I’ve been meaning to come in here” “Not sure why, but I’ve always wanted to try the wheel out” “It just seems like Great Therapy!”
That’s it! They’ve hit the nail on the head. Creating is Great Therapy!
How do they instinctively know that without ever really trying it? Most people have not had the benefit of ever using a wheel. (My public schools in NYC wouldn’t even have the extra funding for the 250lb of plaster I needed for my senior year project!) The answer is ..it is innate in our human makeup to WANT to create stuff. It’s where invention, new methods in business, and even that combination of clothing you are wearing right now and obviously the visual arts derive from. It’s a NEED to express ourselves with paint, pencil, wood, Adobe Creative Suite and of course Clay. We want our final creation to say something that we can not easily say with words. We await the judgment, the criticism and praise. We wait to see if the viewer brought about their own interpretation or “Got” what we were trying to say!
But there is another element of creating that often gets overlooked in a critical world of art sales, juried shows and Instagram fame. Its the ACTUAL ACT OF CREATING. People often ask me “Hey Mel, What do you make?” I alway giggle and say, “Well nothing really.” (Except for the occasional Dave Matthews Fire Dancer mug to make some extra $$$. I tend to be busy running and starting businesses that I’m a bit too busy to be creating the huge installation pieces I hope to make in the future. Room sized sculptures addressing addiction, spirituality and racial divide, but that is definitely to be saved for another blog post!) “Then what do you do?” They ask.. My answer “I just love the making!” I’m often not interested in the final product or how it will come out!
I love sitting at a wheel for 3 to 4 hours straight just throwing pots. If I get in a whole day, I can throws trim and attach some handles in the same day! The complete mindfulness of the speed of the wheel; the texture of the clay; the height of the creation; the thickness of the pot; the unknown of the final piece when you flip it over and carve out the foot; the music I’m listening to when Im in the zone (Surprisingly not only DMB is on the radio) IT IS MY ZEN! IT IS MY YOGA! IT IS MY MEDITATION!
If I sat a wheel and allowed the thoughts of my other ventures, the moodiness of my 12 year old daughter, the renovations I want to do to my house or dare I say…the state of our country, there would be NO final product! If I allowed my mind to wonder away from the moment I would weaken my pot. How you ask? When you are throwing on a wheel, you need to be mindful of the thickness of your walls, the moisture on your fingers, the speed of your wheel.. oh yeah and you also have to remember to BREATHE! If you “leave” for just a few seconds you will create thin, weak spots, create a spiral or literally tear a portion off! Even the mediative process of hand building: rolling coils, building with slabs, texturing your surfaces (#carvetheshitoutofit) creates a zone that helps to organize your brain and you become at peace without even knowing it!
Over the last 5 years it has given me the greatest joy to hear some of our members tell me that this is their therapy. This is where they get out of their 9 to 5 technical stressful job and into a peaceful state of mind. We’ve had members lose their jobs and tell me that they will ALWAYS find the $$$ to keep this therapy going! (Although we will work with you to make the $$$ part easier!) We have members that spend a 85 degree Saturdays inside our walls because the NEED to, because the happiness it brings, despite the uncertainty of the end result (another blog to be coming) surpasses the need to absorb the sun!
And this my potential clay addicts is why Pottery is good for you! So I welcome you to come on in, check out our community even to just get some of the good vibes swirling through! If you don’t live close…google you local studio…just meet some of its members..it’s infectious!
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