Archives for posts with tag: clay

My first show here in New Jersey is really coming together.  My house is a tornado of creative energy–paper laying out on the floor ready to become sculpture, clay objects drying on the dining room hutch, the making of another piece sprawling comfortably across the top of the entry way table.  Somehow I’ve managed to involve every piece of furniture in our house into supporting my creative acts. 

My car is full of tacks, tape, and fliers.  My email inbox is full of messages back and forth from artists participating in the show with me.  The door step is home to works sent to me from all over the country.  My telephone has the local newspaper on speed dial, and even my kitchen table bears more artwork than food this week. 

I am working on a show.

I love it; when I was younger, I used to love the way the art work takes over.  Now, as an artist mom/wife/neighbor, I love that the artwork only takes over when I want it to.  Yes, that’s right, I loaded the dishwasher this morning.  I cooked dinner last night.  Finally–being passionate without being obsequious.  It feels so good–the final push before the opening night, the last details to take care of, the goal just a week away.

This is the same feeling I used to have when I would join my friends and go sail boat racing.  It’s like the last moments before rounding a mark and throwing up the spinnaker. There is shouting and commotion (well, at least on our boat), lines seem to be everywhere, everyone hops into action, and focusing on anything but your own specific job is impossible.  Then, out of the jumble of activity and movement and mess, up rushes the giant spinnaker, and with one giant, satisfying ‘puff!’ the sail catches the wind, fills to capacity, and the boat surges forward in a quiet rush of wind.  Everyone leans back, looks up, and even if they don’t say it audibly, there is a feeling of ‘ahhh!’ as the race continues.

Yup, that’s what it feels like the week before a show.  Can’t wait for Wednesday to stare up at the sails and have my ‘ahhh’ moment.




For me, the whole idea of “arriving” is kinda silly.  But I would say that if I did have to pick a time when I felt like I was beginning to really understand what I was doing with clay, or perhaps gain some small form of mastery over my skills, it wasn’t really getting into a certain show or making a certain piece. I felt like I had “arrived” in some sense of the word when I realized I could work in clay without making a mess. As a beginning pottery student, I often felt that the more clay I had on my clothes, the more “hard core” I was. But as I watched guest artist after guest artists, I realized that the true clay artists worked without ever seeming to get dirty.  This boggled my mind when I was 20 and proved to be an impossible achievement until the age of about 25.

Working in a studio in my bedroom has given me the challenge of working as clean as possible. I sleep about 3 feet from my workspace. Ha, at least ‘sleeping in the studio’ is a lot better now that it doesn’t mean sleeping on some sagging, dusty sofa in B-66.  And now that my life has changed and my studio time is nap time, I have to be ready to hop up at a moments notice to pick up a crying baby. The result? Working cleaner than I ever imagined possible.

Additionally, as I’ve been continuing to make my little rocks (morphed to stacking rocks from stacking mom and baby bird like things), I’ve been trying to think about why I enjoyed natural childbirth so much. I can’t help but think it is linked to why I love clay. I love process oriented experiences. Working in ceramics gives one plenty of opportunity to experience pain and grueling hard work (I specifically think of chiseling shelves, making wadding, loading the soda kiln and bricking up the door in 25 degree weather in the dark), with the promise of success and satisfaction at the end of the labor. I guess clay has taught me that after the hard parts come the blissful parts.  I didn’t feel afraid of the pain in child brith.  I just accepted it as part of a beautiful process and tried to focus on how powerful my body was.

Okay, okay.  I’ll stop with childbirth and bring up something more universal.  Let’s talk about sacrifice in general. I wonder if we focus so much on sacrifice as self-deprivation that we forget that sacrifice has a purpose. Sacrifice is about giving up something good for something BETTER.


Earthworks Studio

Kelly Averill Savino

365 Trinkets

Purging the clutter, one trinket at a time.