Each piece has a spirit of its own. You begin to feel what it wants to become the moment you lay your hands on the clay. My task is to keep listening as the wheel spins, make sure my hands yield to the moment-by-moment inspiration they’re receiving. It’s kind of hard to describe. I guess it’s like a meditative, Zen sort of emptiness…like you’re standing right at the edge of Nothingness and Everything when these amazing things suddenly decide to come into being.
I wake up excited, wondering what this day holds in tore, anxious to see what beautiful shapes and forms will be stacked around my feet by sunset. It isn’t just the way I make a living, it’s the way I give thanks for my life. I can only anticipate so much. The rest is left up to the Mystery.. .to the whim of the Raku gods , how they decide to embrace and dance with each piece, how they choose to favor or discipline me that day.
Year ago, I really mourned the loss of a piece I’d spent so much time preparing but now I understand how sacrificing something is part of the natural balance. Some pieces are not destined to live long. They serve as my teachers, always reminding me that the Raku gods are ultimately in charge of the process. You can never predict how the final reduction stage is going to influence the piece, where the various crackles and colors and metallic components of the glaze will choose to express themselves…if the piece will even survive the extreme thermal shock of the final firing process.
I feel an enormous responsibility to be as true and pure and balanced as possible when I’m creating something destined to carry the spirit of these gifts forward. Whenever I manifest something beautiful, I know I’ve given Beauty one more place to express itself…perhaps encouraged one more person to notice the beauty all around them. The world is an amazing place…I’m just grateful I found my place in it.”