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I believe that art enriches and informs our lives everyday in many positive ways. Sharing those experiences, whether as an artist or as an appreciator, is part of the pleasure. I welcome your comments and hope you find something of value: a laugh, an insight, a new idea or just a happy moment. Enjoy art!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Pinching Pots

Not everyone enjoys diving into new art forms...
and this was never meant to be a "how to" blog.
But today's subject takes us all back to childhood play,
and, most importantly, an art form that just
might be a stress reliever!

My sister is learning how to pot.  She leans over a spinning wheel and beneath her fingers there emerges a finely shaped mug, or a bowl or something else magical.  Of course it takes a loooong
time to learn this craft and try as I might, I failed at every attempt I made to learn how.  Still, I long to play in clay and never miss an opportunity to try again (and again and again).  So when she suggested we enjoy the lovely weather by sitting on her deck and "pinching pots" I was all in.

"Pinching" is very similar to what we all did as children with "Play Doh" (and before we knew we had to learn a specific way to do it. And I'm not crazy: Play Doh DID rework its formula not long ago, something I sadly discovered when I sat down to pinch with the grands.)

My sis suggested we all start with a small ball of clay and work from there.  Before I knew it my husband joined in as well and we were all simultaneously pinching and chatting.

My fingers worked and my mind drifted off.  Pretty soon my chat lessened and I stood up to use more muscle and get a better view.  I thought of Paulus Berensohn, the exquisite potter who saw more value in pinch pots than first meets the eye.  I felt like my efforts were, in a small way, a tribute to him. (link is to NY Times story) Especially since he had just, as he liked to call it, "changed addresses," when he passed last week in Asheville.  

My husband finished his piece first, either a shot glass or a vessel for a night cap (we non-techies are not quite sure how to calculate the shrinkage.)  

My sister made a lovely little vessel ready to receive the texture she had in mind pushing into it.

I worked mine into a little ice cream or soup bowl and had fun letting the lip wonk around the edge.
Relaxing?  Yes, the clay really does tell you where it wants to go and there is something very relaxing about using your sense of touch to play in a formula that goes from soft to firm over time.  I had a hard time letting go....which would have been fine if stress release was the plan, but not so if I want to fire and finish the bowl.

And because I can never get too much of a good thing I made another ball and let the clay tell me it wanted to become a cup!  I started painting (I mean "under glazing") this one later in the week and you can tell I was still in my child-mind.

And if I never see these pieces again?  Or if they blow up in the kiln? Or get knocked over and crushed?  Honestly, it will be OK.  It was the first time Clay and I ever had a relaxing, purely tactile, stress-relieving experience together.  I'm now an affirmed "pincher."

So go beg, borrow or buy a hunk of clay, either one you can fire, one that air dries or get a tub of play doh...make a ball, dig a little thumb hole and start shaping and pinching and pulling.  Ball it all back up and start over.  Do it when you have mental work to do, do it when you are sad or blue, do it when you can barely sit still.  Your fingers and hands will thank you, your arms will thank you and I promise you will feel so good.

For another article on the man who declared himself the "fairy godfather" of so many special children  go here.  And U-tube has many wonderful selections in the archives.  Enjoy.  

Proud to be Pinching,

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