A Typical Workday In The Pottery Studio
As I approach the potters wheel in the morning, there is usually just one question on my mind: what will we, this bag of clay and I, create together today? Narrow-neck bottle shapes that hold dry arrangements? Containers with lids, as for cookies? Lamp Bases? Bowl shapes for fruit or perhaps to contain found objects? Decorative platters for the wall? Or something sculptural? What would THAT look like?
Often, in the midst of deciding the question of how to begin, While opening a bag of clay, I mindlessly begin to wedge the soft, formless mass between my hands, sensing it's coolness, it's firmness, asking what IT wants to become; because it's not always my decision.
Clay has a way of saying ''NO! No mugs today! I want to become...a covered jar! or a plate! but no, not another mug!"
So I have to listen, and approve it's decision. Once we have reached a tacit understanding, I rarely notice the passage of another single moment...until the end of the day when the work is done.
The shapes I make are inevitably informed by the myriad natural objects that I've collected and observed over the years: seed pods, insect egg clusters on the undersides of a stone, upside down acorn caps, paper hornet's nests on a tree limb. I recall the first time I saw a matchstick lichen, and ice castles rising a quarter inch high along my well worn path in mid-winter, to the Rising Fawn Pottery studio in the northwest Georgia mountains.
Now, after the passing of an intervening 43 years, I find myself in Bakersville, N.C., opening yet another studio, my sixth. The one constant in this potter's life has been the search for a place that truly felt like ''home.'' In Bakersville I have finally found such a place, a place where one can spend a lifetime gazing into the sky watching unicorns paint moonbeams just before dawn.
I love this place because I also love unicorns.
After all these years of searching, I have found home.
•Fall 1968 through spring 1972: Louisville School of Art, Ceramics Major
•October 1972 through May 1973: Apprentice to Florida Potter, Eleanor Jensen, (d. April, 2012)
•June 1973 through August 1975: Apprentice to Charles Counts, at the Rising Fawn Pottery Workshop in Georgia
•1975 through 1976: English Literature Major, Berea College, Berea, Kentucky
•Spring 1976 through January 1986: Sole proprietor, Featherbed Mountain Pottery, Berea, Kentucky
•January 1985 through May 1996: sole proprietor
David Westmeier Artist Studio and Gallery, in the
Tula Bldg., Atlanta, Georgia
•May 1996 through October 1999: wild ride through the southwest seeking a community that felt like home, a journey that ended in early retirement from the art scene in 1999.
•1999 through June 2017, among other meaningless work, coach operator for TARC, Louisville, Kentucky
•June 2017 through the future: back to vessel making, and I still absolutely LOVE clay. Being absorbed with the running of a ''normal'' life, i.e., a non-creative one, I hadn't even realized that I missed vessel making. The years I spent away from clay, however, were not idly spent, and as I was to realize later on, my subconscious mind remained tethered to the drawing board behind the scenes. The new work I am doing is beyond reference, beyond conscious pondering. It is raw and unpredictable. It simply is, and I am in awe of the creative process, whereby intuition, inspiration, and imagination meet at a crossroads and converse just moments before creative impulse whispers in my ear..."this then, is what you shall make today, this is how, and this is why. Allow yourself to flow with it...it will be good work''.