Wednesday, 16 February 2022

Lines






I am just a potter. I know that there are many other labels which could be used to make it sound more romantic, more exotic, more valuable, but those lines we draw in the air to define our separateness don’t matter to the air. It enters us when we breath, becomes part of us for a brief time, then leaves us again in the constant ebb and flow of life.





There are no lines between art and science, mathematics and language, work and leisure, for they are all overlapping ways in which we strive to understand our lives and our place in the world. I chose to become a potter because, of all the careers on the list, it was the only one which I could find which could twine all the scattered fibres of my fraying life into a single thread. It is, literally, the most down to earth way of embracing the sublime, to become part of the forces of nature, to take earth and water, air and fire, and give new expression to the beauty of the world. To share that passion with others through the touch of hand on clay, through the flavour and fragrance of sharing sustenance, through the art of just living.






And I am just a potter, making pots to serve food to my loved ones. But each pot embodies that love, nourishes and enriches their lives, and the making of the vessels nourishes and enriches mine. Just as every day is new and unique, so too are the pots that I make, and there is no end to the wonder and joy of that discovery. The pots go out into the world and become part of other peoples lives, serving nourishment to their loved ones, telling their stories.






Yes, I am just a potter. But it is the pots that have made me so, and there are no lines to separate the making and the becoming, and that is enough.



Tuesday, 18 January 2022

Milk & Honey



Each morning is made fresh, clean and beautiful with a new coating of snow. It is a subtle softening of the edges of the world, without guile or intent. That gentle accumulation of delicate white crystals on every leaf and frond, branch and stone, machine, mansion or tumble down shed, that blankets them and makes them all equal within its tender embrace. It reminds me that beauty is the natural state of the world, of nature, of this universe in which we are privileged to live and breath and sense the infinite wonder of being.  





I open the shutters in the predawn glow, then light the wood stove to warm our home. Grinding coffee and setting it to brew on the stove, I give a call out to those who need to leave the dreaming world and get off to school or work. Back in the kitchen I start to prepare Obento and breakfast, and the family start to emerge one by one and begin their own preparations for the day ahead. I break an egg into a bowl, add a hundred milliliters of milk, two spoons of sugar and a dash of vanilla, then whisk it with a fork till it is nice and smooth. Into this I soak two slices of bread, drizzle a little olive oil into a frypan on the stove, and lay the bread gently in the pan to sizzle. As the fragrance of coffee, vanilla and toasting bread fill the room I lay out plates and cutlery on the kitchen table. Each slice of french toast is flipped once so that each side is the golden brown of fox fur, and when they are done I place them on the black surface of the plate, dust them with cinnamon and top them with a spoonful of homemade yoghurt. After trickling lines of honey backwards and forwards across the yoghurt I drag the tip of a knife through the lines to feather the pattern. I pour the coffee, and breakfast is served! 





The modern world, human society, can be a complex and difficult place. I don’t think that it needs to be, it’s just that we tend to outsmart ourselves, mistaking luxury and extravagance for happiness, and forget to care and be kind sometimes…so I strive for a simple life, rich in all the unassuming beauty that nature provides, and hope that my work is an expression of that. And every day is a chance to start afresh.