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Carving in Clay

My goal for 'being a potter' is to do what I love while fitting it in round life as a mum to a wee one and furry four legged wee one. While that sounds perhaps cliche, it's super important that I do just that- what I love. I don't want to feel I should do sculpting just because I used to do it and I am ok at it- I want to find that thing I NEED to do and keep gravitating to. Like the ocean to the moon... I have wanted desperately to find something I am truly passionate about and my CV reflects that -with it's four-thousand sides of job history and eclectic list of random skills like 'engrave sandstone' and 'repair orthopedic slippers' and 'strategic decision making'. I've always fallen disenchanted quite quickly- my Granny likes to pointedly ask me 'are you staying in this one..?' I'm not really sure why there hasn't been a fire lit before ceramics. BUT after many years of searching (don't give up- you are NOT a passionless husk), I finally found my groove.


But ceramics is such A. HUGE. AREA. sculpting, throwing, handbuilding, coiling, teeny work, huge installations, homeware, functional ware, fine art, statement pieces, hygge, local, international, teaching, pit firing, oxidation/reduction firing, home studio, production factory, porcelain, terracotta... phew! That's just what spewed from my brain. I'm sure to have missed whole swathes of it out. Like sgraffito, carving, glazes, slip trailing... ok ok I'll stop.


I want to try it all!


So usually I struggle to focus my ideas, because as much as it's super neat I get to do something I love, it needs to sustain itself. 'SHOW ME THE MONEY' cries Jerry Maguire in my head. However I'm afraid I come lacking a homing signal for making money, I just want to make, what I want to make right then and there! I keep getting side tracked from my list of Things To Make And Sell. A perfectly reasonable list. Maybe it's because it's a list. My heart wants to rebel against the project management head, veering (hissing like a territorial cat) away from anything ordered to keep with the chaos. My precious.


Well this article is titled Carving In Clay and you might be wondering when I'll get to it. So here it is:


I love carving in clay. I think I could spend hours pulling a hooped blade through leather hard clay - and I wanted to tell you. Do I think I've found my niche? Lot's of other brilliant potters carve patterns into clay, so I doubt that very much. But it is nice to find something I'll happily do over and over - there are lots of things - nay TONNES of things I try once, enjoy, but don't really gravitate back to. But carving seems to suck in me and I'm having a hard time not over carve the heck out of even poor little trinket dish. One I carved looked like a string bikini by the end of that particular frenzy. But Man! I felt so great for the rest of the day, like 10 hours of chick flicks and chocolate.


So that's where I am at right now, fun carving in clay. Watch this space, perhaps next month it will be geometric patterns or penguins.


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Helen Walker Ceramics

Southbourne, Dorset, UK.

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