Monday, December 8, 2014

My Ceramic Family

Hey there!  Remember me???  The author of this blog??  Thank you for hanging in there and sticking with me!  And now... on to today's post.

I am a member of several ceramics groups on Facebook.  I LOVE the camaraderie and the friendships established in these online forums.  By and large, the ceramics community as a whole contain some of the most giving and kind hearted people I've met (physically and virtually).  Always more than happy to share their tips and tricks of the trade, technical knowledge, and even answer the questions you never knew you had when it comes to the business of pottery.  In one of these groups, another pottery commented about a poor experience he had with a fellow ceramicist when he stopped by their studio/workshop.  The conveyed experience struck a cord with me, reminding me of an experience I had as a very new potter myself. 

My husband and I were driving back to my parents house in Virginia after an appointment with a neurologist.  We were supposed to visit Luray Caverns, but I was not feeling up to it and was upset because my health would not allow us to enjoy this excursion we had planned after my appointment.  Well, my hubby being the awesome man that is, saw a sign for pottery, turned around, and took me to the studio.  Mind you, pottery/ceramics is NOT his thing.. but he indulges and supports me in all my endeavors...he even listens when I start talking "geek speak" clay style.  The owner, who was also the potter, and I bonded over our mutual service in the military.  The items on the shelves were gorgeous, and we were looking for something to take home to remember our time in Virginia.  I don't remember exactly how it came about, but I mentioned I was a novice potter just learning the ropes.  I think I may have asked him if he used commercial glazes or made his own, because the colors were gorgeous.  I was accused of trying to steal ideas, and I would garner no respect in the industry as a thief, and was all but kicked out of the studio!  I was flabbergasted!!!  What had I done wrong?  Did I offend him somehow?  Are those taboo questions?  I was clueless, no idea.  I was after all, a NOVICE.  Rather than taking the time to even tell me what it was I'd done wrong, we were kicked out of his studio, Mill Creek Pottery.  From what I've read, they may do a lot for the community hosting fundraisers and such, and the general public like them.  But when you are that RUDE to not only a fellow veteran, but a member of the same craft, there is no professionalism there. 

Thankfully, I have not let this singular experience jade my views on ceramics as a whole.  Know what the funny part is?  I don't even throw on the wheel anymore due to health issues, and am transitioning to sculpture!  No where close to being his "competition".  To me, the ceramics community is like an extended family; much the same as my fellow active duty service members and veterans are my brothers and sisters.  If you don't want to answer my questions, or your glaze recipe is one you've honed for the last 4 years and don't want to share it, that's fine!  I promise, I won't take offense!  Just ask Jon Puzzuoli (I LOVE his blue and white whirlpool glaze.. but that's a closely guarded secret as that's one of his signature lines....and ya know what?  THAT'S OKAY!)  But he wasn't an asshole when telling me.  I've met so many wonderful artists, both potters in the traditional sense of wheel thrown functional ware, as well as sculptors... that may be a post in and of itself... bringing all these amazing people to your computer screen... :-D

Anyway, the point of all this... is that there are bad apples in every family.  But I am sooo very glad that I did not let this man ruin my views of the ceramics community as a whole because 99% of m are pretty awesome!

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