Way back when I started this blog, I was in the ‘in-between’. Oh, I didn’t know it then. All I saw then was yet another in a long line of changes in and around me. I was relieved, happy, exhausted and lost all at the same time. And I dealt with it in the only ways I knew how: walk, learn and create.
I’ve learned a lot since then. I’m grateful and happy and, sometimes a little lost. But that’s ok because I can see the pattern. I know that this is how life, my life happens. Up. Down. And around. Rinse and repeat.
One way to cope: cook.
Ever since my grandmother taught me to make shortbread, I’ve cooked. I made cookies as a kid and went on to college level foods classes where I not only learned the chemistry of cooking but the value of good, healthy food.
Today, as I wait for the newest kiln load to ‘cook’ to the glaze stage, I’m busy cooking in the kitchen. I’ve got a Moroccan Stew in the slow cooker and a Chocolate Chip Banana Cake ready for the oven.
A big part of creating finished ceramics is firing. Whether you throw it or slap it or roll it out, clay has to be dried and baked and glazed to its finished form.
Once the colored underglazes are added to clay, it’s baked. After bisque firing, I add more to my clay and bake it again. Then clear or more colored glazes are dipped, brushed or poured on and it’s baked again.
While baking food requires similar skills, clay needs a lot more time. So when it does make it into the heat, I usually sweat it out. Worrying and wondering and hoping it will make it out in one piece.
I never worry about my cake because even if it cracks a little or crumbles, it’s still delicious.
Mixing, straining and dipping my clay pieces in clay is not my favorite part of my art. The actual process of covering the pieces goes fast but the set up and clean up is tedious. With cooking, clean up is not my favorite part either.
But whether it’s clay or food, it’s the process of working with my hands to form, cook, bake or glaze that’s important.
It’s hunger and desire in action.
And in the end, whether your work produces the perfect bowl of stew, a cake or cup, it’s your art. And it feeds you body and soul.