Creating creates beauty and, sometimes chaos. But always, it creates mess. Not just the daily studio cleanup kind of messes, where brushes need washing, wedging boards need scraping and the floor around the kiln needs sweeping before another firing.
I’m talking about clearing out the deep mess that gets pushed into the corners and the bottoms of drawers and the back of closet shelves. Not every bag of clay or glaze works. Not every piece created is wonderful, useful or something to sell. And that’s ok.
It’s all part of the process.
A year ago, when the pandemic started, I was given a box of free clay. It had been delivered by mistake and the artist offered it for free. I took it gladly. I made a few nice things with it.
Hungry Caterpillar birthday favors for my grandson’s first birthday.
And Peace Dove ornaments.
But in the end, I realized I just didn’t like the smell or texture of clay. I tried to pass it on again but that didn’t work. So I cleared it out and recycled it. Now I have room for new clay and new glaze.
This clay that I didn’t like, led me to create a few new little things. It led me to a new experiment: little plates.
I always thought that plates had to be big to be useful. Dinner, dessert, salad plates or platters. I do love design but I also love function. When I made these little plates, I thought they might be good as teabag holders for my teacups.
What a surprise: these little plates can do a lot! They can hold jewelry, keys, charger jacks, paper clips, candies or nuts, a small candle or soap and yes, a teabag.
I’ll admit clearing out isn’t fun or colorful or obviously creative. But facing the messes and mishaps help in the end.
Sometimes things need to go to make room and space to create more work. Sometimes it’s a germ of an idea that needs time to sprout into a different form. Sometimes it’s just something to get you to something better.
Most of the time, it’s an opening waiting for you to go through.