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practice (was $600 teapot)

updated fri 7 oct 05


Jonathan Kirkendall on thu 6 oct 05

As I continue to work towards being a very good potter AND a very good
therapist, while I continue to work to find the balance between two
livelihoods, two crafts, two skills that on the surface, at least,
appear very different, I have learned an interesting thing.

I can go two or three days without seeing a client and still give good
therapy. But I've discovered that I need to throw a pot every day to
continue to improve as a potter. The restaurant that I provide dishes
for provides the perfect opportunity for this. I despise sitting down
to the wheel to do the rush "100 soy dish" order, so every day, at the
beginning of the day or at the end of the day, I go down and throw 10
soy dishes off the hump, or 10 tea bowls, or 5 udon noodle bowls. I do
this when I need to spend my day glazing, or loading the kiln, or going
to the supply store, and on days when I'm headed for my office downtown
to see clients.

In my first apprenticeship, my teacher said "It's not enough to throw
when you feel like it. You have to throw when you don't feel like it,
too." I think she said that the first time we met. It stuck with me.

I also think there is something to be said for cultivating boredom. I
know that early on I boasted about not being a production potter mostly
because I simply could not tolerate the tedium of sitting down to throw
the same thing over and over and over and while I despise the
rush "100 soy dish" order, it's also, quite frankly, great practice in
working with boredom, which turns out not to be boredom at all. Leaning
into the details (depth, width, size of foot) over and over again
provides a depth to my pottery practice that I have (slowly) come to

Jonathan in DC
where it's dry dry dry, but the rains from the tropical storm hit tonight.