I've seen this meme posted on facebook every once in a while and I could not agree more. Another season of art festivals and farmers markets is upon us. I feel excited to have the opportunity to sit in the sun and meet and greet potential customers of my pottery and occasionally my novels. To give you an idea of how I came to be a potter, let me educate you with some of what has gone into it. I first began creating pottery in earnest when I was in high school. I am now 56 years old, so that was a long time ago. I would spend hours every day in the art room at Orem High School each day learning the craft. I'd start each practice session with a stack of baseball and softball sized pieces of carefully wedged clay. And try to first center the clay, then pull it into a form. It took months before I kept anything I made. Most of those attempts were failures. Eventually, I began to get pieces that I felt were worthy of taking to the next level, that of firing twice in the kiln, once bisque and then glaze fired. Even then, when you opened the door of the kiln, often what I found as a beginning potter was more failure. Only in learning an art, there is no failure because everything we do helps us learn to become better and better. With every single piece of pottery I've ever made, I can honestly say that I put my all into it. I love that my pottery graces the homes of people all over the United States (a few pieces have ended up in other countries even).
For my high school graduation present, my parents helped me buy a potters wheel. It was expensive, around 600.00 at the time. But considering many pay that much for a phone, I can't complain, especially considering I'm still using that same wheel. There isn't a whole lot of technology involved. It just has to be sturdy, smooth, and revolve fast. For a while, I used a friend's kiln to fire and then the teacher at Provo High lived near me and he let me throw pottery and fire at Provo High after hours, in exchange for helping around the studio. It was a superb deal for me and taught me how to fire a kiln by myself. I spent many long hours at night in the Provo High Ceramics lab. There was a lot of trust that went into that arrangement and I'm forever grateful. I started out at BYU art department, but after two semesters transferred to Utah State where I continued my studies in art education focusing on Ceramics/Pottery. Finally now, I have a studio in Avon, Utah where I can make and fire my pottery. And to this day, I put my all into each piece that I make. I'm sure most artisans that you meet will have similar experiences of how they learned their craft. So next time you are perusing the wares at an artisan market, remember that and enjoy the experience. Treasure the things that you buy, knowing a little more about what has gone into the creation.