A Potter in the Making

Alright! Sorry for being out of touch over the past few days, well two weeks. Whatever illness I picked up in Ireland has been kicking my but since two days before flying home, and I still have yet to make a full recovery. I cannot remember a time I have ever been quite so lazy. It’s been nice to a certain extent. I have read quite a few books and caught up on a few of my favorite Netflix shows. But I have started going a bit crazy from being stuck in the house.

So, I decided today would be a good time to share a bit more information about myself. That should be an easy enough topic since I know myself just a bit better than pretty much anyone. I will try not to overlap too much from my previous “About Me” post, but I make no promises.

This blog is currently focused on my main three passions: Travel, Eat, Serve. However, there are a multitude of other areas I am interested in, and one in particular has been on my mind lately: Pottery.

When I was younger, we used to spend a large portion of time with my dad’s best friend, affectionately knows as Uncle Steve. He had a property about 45 minutes away from where I grew, closer toward the Ohio River, deep into “redneck country” in Addams County. Going to his house was always an exciting trip. We’d stop at an Amish general store along the way, where we’d get lunch meats and cheeses to take with us for lunch. As small children, we’d often get to pick out a bag of candies or beef sticks and jerky if we behaved in the car. My favorite candies were these bright pink mints that had the a texture like chalk, but were sweet with just the right amount of minty goodness. I was also partial to their original flavor beef jerky, and still get excited to stop and pick some up whenever we’re in the area. After the Amish store, we’d wind down and around some back roads for what seemed like forever until we pulled up his long gravel driveway, being greeted by his giant black Bouvier de Flanders.

Now, we had a tradition when going to Uncle Steve’s house. This tradition came from the hobby he passed down to me: pottery. Every visit took us through various stages of pottery. We’d throw a new piece with his guidance, glaze and fire the pieces from last time, and take home the finished work from the visit before that. I can still remember what it was like to sit in front of him at the wheel, his hands over mine, teaching me about how to apply pressure to shape the clay, keeping it even as you pull up to stretch the clay thinner and taller. Of course, when I was still small enough to fit in front of him, none of my work was a masterpiece by anyone’s standards. But as I got older, and visits continued, he’d often get me set up in the shop then leave me there to work away while he and my aunt chatted with my parents up at the house. Growing up the way we did left me with an innate sense of joy that occurs at any time I get my hands dirty. I was constantly taking art classes in school, and my senior year I selected to enroll in a morning ceramics class with my favorite art mentor, Mrs. Hendricks. Starting off every day in a bucket of brown water and rusty red clay brought me untold amounts of joy, and being in an advanced art class, Mrs. Hendricks gave us plenty of artistic freedom to choose our projects. She give us a basic outline and guidance along the way, but all designs and creations were up to us to choose. Luckily, she’s let me come in durning my free periods and homeroom to work.

After high school, my college curriculum didn’t allow much free time to pursue ceramics, and being so far away, trips to my uncles happened next to never. We lost him to a heart attack my junior year. When my parents called to tell me, my heart shattered like a piece of pottery knocked off the top shelf. It’s amazing how much allow ourselves to set aside, thinking “There’s always next time.” The next time I stepped into his pottery shed wasn’t to create art, but to sort through the unfinished pieces he left behind. My Aunt knew how special pottery with him had been to me, and when I left to go back to school, I had inherited Po Po Aggie Pottery.

My life in Tiffin has had me moving from apartment to house, and back again, so I have yet to settle down enough to set up my own studio. However, I am hopefully that in the next year, during my travels and time in the south, I will find a place to make a home (at least for the foreseeable future) where I can finally set up my own creative space. I won’t spill all the beans, but God willing, I’ll be able to incorporate pottery into my future career goal. But that’ll be a post that come later on down the road. Don’t want to open the kiln before the load is finished.

~Kelly

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