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  • Writer's pictureMarie

It's a process.

Updated: Jan 14, 2021

A block of potterys clay.
A fresh start.

I don’t hold any illusions that turning the calendar over will magically make that all the challenges of the past year disappear. However, there is something about a fresh start that brings hope. While we know there are certain milestones to reach before we can “get back to normal” and a certain order to the process, how long it will take is, at best, an educated guess. We will get there when we get there.

It’s really a lot like the process I use to make Pine Springs Pottery. There are a series of steps that can only be done in one order; I have to prepare the clay before I can form the piece, each piece has to go through a pre-fire or bisque fire before it’s strong enough to glaze and decorate, and so on...

Hands preparing pottery clay for work on the wheel.
Preparing the clay.

To get to the point of being able to fill the kiln with about 100 pieces for the final firing, and it must be full to fire properly, I have to complete each step in the sequence that comes before. I can’t leave any pieces behind or they will have to wait for that point the cycle to come around again.

Hands squeezing water on clay at potters wheel.
Starting a specific piece.

I’m often asked how long it takes to complete a piece or when I will fire again and I struggle to find a suitable answer. Each piece is a part of the larger puzzle. They all have to be done for the one to be done and there are lots of variables to muddy the water so the best I can give is an educated guess.

Every list of orders and every load is different. Familiar forms I have made many times over the past 30+ years come along fairly fast. New shapes or new designs are time-consuming and often fraught with missteps and restarts. Those keep the work fresh and interesting but they undoubtedly slow down the process.

Woman potter working on wheel.

Even so, I like the cyclical nature of the work as much as the uniqueness of every load. I like the feeling of accomplishment that comes from completing each step on the way to completing the whole process…only to start all over again. It’s predicable but as for exact timing, it will be done when it’s done.

Hands working clay on potters wheel.
Opening the form.

This year will undoubtedly still hold challenges but we can reasonably hope that it will also hold more normalcy. I don’t know exactly when I’ll get back to doing Pottery Parties and Open Houses and Events. For now, I’m just going to wait and see how things progress. But I know at some point, even if it looks a little different, we will do those things. I’m excited for the opportunity to see you in person again, to visit and find the perfect pieces for you; it will happen, I’m sure. We’ll be there when we get there.

Hands holding clay heart.
My heart is full.

In the mean time, I’ll be working on your orders and restocking the shelves after what turned out to be a very busy season, thanks to all of you. So many of you told me you were doing all your holiday shopping at small businesses. I am overwhelmed and thankful. There are some things from 2020 that I hope never go back to “normal.”



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