March 17, 2011 - 11:02am
Last night at the half way mark through the meal we were sharing with out of town friends, (leftovers revamped from the night before!) David suggested we go into the studio and play with clay. He is a ceramist, we have a working studio in the house. The four of us gathered up the wineglasses and in we went.
We worked with slab clay, making little 5inch square plates. Between all of us, we stared by rolling out the clay, cut the pieces to size, and then lifted the edges while fast drying them with a propane torch. Finally, we each applied under-glaze. (This is like painting for those who have not done this. I still have to remember it is under-glazing not painting!)
Each of us had a different approach. Jim was bold and immediate, plunging in with the sponges and bright colors. Callie did finer work with a little brush and attention to detail. David, who is the ceramist and made sure we all had the pieces with which to work as well as some 'handy hints' for technique, applied his beautiful little signature marks and designs, the 'scraffitie' work. After much hesitation, I worked with the sponge technique and discovered that I chose pastels and gentle hues quite unlike my previous work with bold colors and brush work.
During the hour or so we spent in the studio we alternatively (and differing combinations) talked, drank the fine red wine, were absolutely silent - elbows leant on the table, glasses perched on the nose, silently focused - or moving around the studio teasing the other artists at the table.
When we had 12 perfect little plates ready to go the kiln we went back to the kitchen and ate strawberries and kiwi fruit right out of a communal bowl. I had come to know these longtime friends of my new partner by eating together and creating art together.
I share this story to remind us all that the practice of art celebrates community and individuality; builds diversity and collaboration; provides comfort and delight. Our bodies were employed and focused, our minds multi-tasking between and on the work at hand as well each other, and our spirits shone through from and to each of us in the art we created.
Next time you have guests, old or new, share some art time. It is a gift given and received - and the pieces we created will live forever.