It started with just one small bag of old clay. Over the next few days, everything in my studio got moved, cleaned, recycled or tossed. Yes, even a few finished bowls and vases were thrown into the trash can outside. They landed with such a satisfying crash.
I know it sounds a little crazy. And maybe it is, or I am. But there’s just something about January that brings out the need to clear the decks. And especially after this last year, ok the last four years, it felt like a mission that had to be carried out. With gusto.
I didn’t think it would ever happen. I have over two dozen shelves in my studio which gives me plenty of room to make, dry, underglaze, fire and finish new work as well as display pieces for sale. But all of my shelves were full.
Bags of clay, bats, tubes, trays, foam, forms and more take up several shelves. Finished, saved and displayed work for sale take up more and more shelves. Some work in progress did sit, waiting for me to catch up to it after the holiday. And ok, I’ll admit, some of it got tossed as well.
But it was definitely time to make room to make new work. And how could I be motivated to make new work, more work, when all I could see were crowded shelves.
On the bottom of my studio display shelves, behind the rolling cart filled with underglazes, glazes and brushes, are stacks of finished pieces. There are vases, platters, mugs, raku pieces, and bowls sitting and waiting dusty and forgotten.
There’s nothing wrong with these pieces. They’ve been to shows and galleries. Ok, they haven’t sold. But I admit, I still like them, so I can’t seem to let them go. They sit. And wait.
This week, I made a decision: move them, throw them or let them go. I went through each and every piece. Some I dusted. Some I tossed. Some I prepared to be boxed away in the garage where I’m afraid they’ll be forgotten for good. Then, I had an idea.
I know there’s still a pandemic and a need for care, social distance and masks. I know it isn’t the season for garage sales. And I know that selling art at a garage sale may seem crass or bad or just ‘not done’. Maybe I’m just a little creatively stir crazy.
But these forgotten pieces seem to need some new homes. And I need to make some space in my studio by giving them a chance to make someone smile instead of gathering dust.
And maybe it’s not crazy, but a way of clearing and cleaning not just my studio but my mind, heart and soul. Making way for healing, happy days and hugs.