My pots for a song


“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I have pondered how I can help art and creativity become more the norm than the exception in our culture, and I have to agree with de Saint-Exupéry: We need to teach folks to long for the endless immensity of creativity and art. And the best path in that direction that I can see is for us to get kids involved. And the only way kids will take it seriously is if we prepare the way by showing them that what they do creatively does matter, and does have a respected place in our world, and especially in their world.

To this end I have come up with an idea for engaging kids in this conversation. For years now I have been offering smaller sized pots to kids for half off the adult price, and this at least puts real art in their hands and in their lives. That’s part of the discussion, at least, and they get the chance to grow up loving handmade beauty and using functional pots in their daily lives. But nothing makes the case like their own creativity. Here’s what I’ve come up with to put that into the conversation too:

I make ornaments for the holidays and they are always a hit with the kids. This year I have a special offer. This is my message to the kids at my sale:

Kids can get them for a song!

This season I want to make an ornament available in
trade with kids who are willing to share a few verses
of a song, tell me a story, either made up on the spot
or from among your favorites, or draw me a picture of
something your imagination comes up with. I want to
help you feel that your creativity has real value in the
world and that the world has a place for doing creative
things. I want to make this a trade because I want to
honor your creativity but also your generosity. The
world needs more creative acts freely given, because
these things matter. I hope you continue to express
yourselves creatively throughout your lives.

Thank you for sharing!


When I shared this on facebook last week the post went as nearly viral as anything I’ve ever written. Parents seemed to love the idea. And yesterday I had my first visitors to take advantage of the trade offer! Sage, who is 10, drew me this picture, and Azalea, her 5 year old sister, sang me a verse from ‘Jingle bells’ three times 🙂 It was beyond precious! If this is how its going to work out I will count it every bit a success 🙂


Peace all!

Happy potting!

Make beauty real!


About Carter Gillies

I am an active potter and sometime pottery instructor who is fascinated by the philosophical side of making pots, teaching these skills, and issues of the artistic life in general. I seem to have a lot to say on this blog, but I don't insist that I'm right. I'm always trying to figure stuff out, and part of that involves admitting that I am almost always wrong in important ways. If you are up for it, please help me out by steering my thoughts in new and interesting directions. I always appreciate the challenge of learning what other people think.
This entry was posted in Art, Arts advocacy, Arts education, Beauty, Ceramics, Creative industry, Creativity, Imagination, metacognition, Pottery. Bookmark the permalink.

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