Forming Pots

“It’s not pots we are forming, it’s ourselves.” MC Richards wrote that. Even as I write, I hear the gentle squeak of the kick wheel as Aaron creates in the basement. Just hearing the occasional kick and the ever changing rhythm of the potter’s wheel, I can almost feel the stress leaving his body.


Allowing yourself to get messy; to get past the splatter and stain of the clay and really feel it in your hands, in your soul. The sense of oneness with the clay when your hands and the clay and the wheel are finally centered, makes me feel there is only this, only now, and it is enough, even to overflowing.

“It’s not pots we are forming, it’s ourselves.” The act of centering, the rhythm of the wheel, the excitement of creativity is a magical thing. Knowing when it is time to stop, knowing when to push a little further, is also part of the experience. Messy hands express and mold with patience, firmness, love and restraint. To lack any of these, is to miss the mark.

Every time the kiln opens is like holding your breath on Christmas morning. Sometimes your hard work and creativity exceeds expectations, sometimes not so much. Either way, opening the kiln is only a step on the journey. Creating changes who we are, a perfect pot does not.


Seeing a pot I made brings momentary pride, as long as I don’t look too closely. But much more than that, it brings back the feeling of creating it, the endless possibilities I saw in the clay, in the unfinished bisque; the many uses I pictured as I saw it glazed for the first time.

Imagine the joy our Potter has at creating from nothing; knowing how much to push, when to mold, when to take it off the wheel and let it be what it is. The joy there must be in seeing that creation inspire others; at seeing it used to serve and to sustain. When our Creator looks at us, I think the cracks and bumps of who we are only remind both of us of the journey we’ve traveled together. As long as we can still be repaired and filled, we continue. “It’s not pots we are forming, it’s ourselves.” Indeed.

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