My friend, Theo, a very talented and intuitive potter, held an open house at his new home and studio in Santa Fe this weekend. He recently moved there after many years of life in the little mountain village of Chimayo. Changing our home setting, and especially the place where one does creative work, can be a scary thing to do, even when you're excited by the changes and by the new environment. We talked the other night, swapping stories of how we were each getting settled into our new spaces. He shared his thoughts around showing his new work, opening his space and himself to the public in this way. It requires a lot of courage to do that.
I admire the life of a potter, their dedication to the clay itself, the loving care that goes into the gentle handling of it as you allow it's intended shape to reveal itself. It's much like sculpturing in which Michelangelo is said to have remarked that the sculptor simply chisels away at the marble allowing the underlying object, the form inside the marble, to reveal itself.
Theo's pottery, while having an obviously organic feel and texture to it, also has a grace and elegance inherent in it. I think that's where the loving touch comes in. One of my Theo bowls, with the quietest of yellows inside, is used to hold some of my favorite bracelets. It could just as easily be used for soup or rice. Another, which seems to change color with the light or it's surroundings, is in my bathroom, holding a square of scrumptious plum-colored handmade soap. Right now, the inside seems to have the slightest tinge of blue. I also have a small tea cup with the softest violet color nestled inside. I love to hold it in my hands and just feel it, it's gentleness and grace.
He named one of his glazes Lonely At the Top. It's from a Randy Newman song. I love the sound of those words together, the little sense of melancholy it evokes. It seems so fitting for this light covering of the fired clay itself. I think about how it speaks of the vase and it's potential. You have this object, which seems very much alive, waiting to discover its new life, its purpose.
He said he spends many evenings playing the piano, which he put in the gallery itself. It's the perfect place for it. I can just imagine that scene: the soft warm colors on the walls and the quiet lighting; his beautiful pottery sitting on their pedestals at full attention; his dog and cat, sweet Abby and Micah, as they lie down to listen; a very appreciative audience, to be sure.
I'm sorry I wasn't there to share in celebration of these wonderful life changes, but I celebrate with him from this distance, which is really no distance at all, and marvel at his bravery, his willingness to take chances and to share his lifework in this way. Congratulations, Theo !
Want to check it out ? http://www.greenriverpottery.com/.