Sunday, January 29, 2012

Getting Down and Dirty

     Our chicken pot pie is ready, adorned with flower shaped biscuits (Ivory's doing), and smelling positively delicious. After waiting a solid 45 minutes for my husband to walk through the front door, I allow the kids and myself to dig in.

     Every night for the last week, I have been slipping off my wedding band, sneaking out of the house, backing the car out of the driveway and driving over the Scott street bridge to get down and dirty with some clay.

     I took my first ceramics class the same semester I met the pony tailed, bike pedal pushing, often bare foot young man who is now my wool plaid shirt and big boot wearing, might be confused for a red-neck husband. I lived and breathed ceramics for years. Loading and unloading kilns, spending late nights at the studio, falling asleep in folding chairs conveniently set up next to the belly of the warm gas kilns, earning myself the status of Ceramics Student of the Year.. and then I dropped the ball somewhere along the way. I never managed to complete a cohesive body of work or document things properly. (The primary reason being that I just never thought anything was good enough.) Adam and I got married, spent five weeks traveling around Europe and I went to graduate school for something completely unrelated. Yes, I now have a masters in Plant and Soil Science with a focus in Soil Chemistry. My last contact with clay was while I taught a Beginning Ceramics Class at the Stillwater Multi Arts Center with a bulging baby belly. After that, I wholeheartedly found myself elbow deep in dirty diapers and homemade baby food all while diligently memorizing the assumptions that underlay the chemical processes occurring at the soil particle solution interface.
     Even before I made the move to Missoula, I had spent hours looking over pages of google results trying to figure out just where I was ending up. I stumbled upon the Missoula Clay Studio website and told myself that some day, when I had figured out what exactly I wanted to do, I would rent a space there. Which is really one more way of making an excuse not to enroll in a ceramics class at all.
     So, one more baby and two moves later, I finally just did it. I made the phone call. I am enrolled in a Cone 6 Soda Fire class at the Clay Studio. I don't have a plan. I am simply enjoying the feel of a well centered lump of clay gliding past my fingertips, pulling on it gently and watching it grow into a familiar shape: New coffee mugs for Adam and I, a plate, bowl and cup set for Ivory and Sylvan. Maybe by the next time I sneak out of the house, delegating the baby and bedtime routine to my husband, I will have a plan, but even if I don't, I am not letting it stop me anymore.   


  1. That's beautiful, Heidi. You're amazing!

  2. Love it! And can completely relate to the transfixing, yet utterly "familiar" sensation of building things from clay. Someday, I too want to get back to it.

  3. Those are beautiful. I love your work and am so glad you are back at it. BTW, those flower biscuits make the chicken pot pie look so nice. Tell Ivory, "good job."

  4. So happy for you that you are taking time for yourself and that you are practicing your skill with clay!!!