This is an issue I have been thinking about for some time now, and it is related to many of the things I have talked about in my other posts. I was moved to get these words out because of something I read on Kristen Keiffer’s blog this morning. In her post Kristen talks about her own experience in breaking free from the work a day activities of the ‘job’ of making pottery. Please read her post. This is the comment I left there:
This is a great Post Kristen!
I have been having some conversations recently about getting out of the habits and expectations we sometimes build for ourselves when we are ‘on the job’ of pottery making. I think the idea of ‘hobby’ is perfect for this, and I wonder if it may also be possible for potters to pick up clay and call it “hobby-time”. As long as they can get that ‘job’ switch turned off, I suppose. And all of this fresh creative work, this experimentation, has to be good for us when it comes time for us to step back into our ‘work clothes’. Don’t you think?
You have been very successful in keeping your main work playful and fun, but I’m sure (as Ron suggested) that there are folks out there who are losing track of that attitude of making things in clay just for fun. So it really seems to be as much an issue of attitude as it does an issue of particular activities. Having fun is having fun no matter the medium, and if we potters can’t remember what it was to have fun with clay we may be in deep trouble.
What you said about the difficulty and humor of being new at something is exactly what we need to cultivate sometimes. As professional potters we are so good at what we do, so proficient. Our habits are so ingrained, and our expectations are so infused with things like market pressures, branding, and needing to get pots out that we can sometimes forget to have fun with what we do. Can we still pick up a piece of clay and not feel those pressures? The farther we are from our habits the easier it may be to simply play. Sometimes that means doing things outside of clay. Shouldn’t we give ourselves time to also just play with the clay at times?
I’d love to hear what other folks think.