Blossoming | September 14, 2022

Sep 14, 2022

This week I started a ceramics class, my first in 58 years, I think. We’d moved just a few years earlier to a new town that had a shiny new modern art museum. Our parents always nurtured our creativity so it stood to reason that they thought this would be good for me. It was great!

I wish I could remember the name of the instructor. He was a grizzly guy who was a found object sculptor of some repute in, at least, the local art world. He was indefatigable and never treated us urchins as anything less than aspiring artists. We made sand castings among the tidepools. We sculpted wax molds for little bronzes. And we threw pots on a wheel. That was my favorite. Loved it. I still have a couple of those vessels. Small, squat, impossibly thick walled “bowls”. My mother gave them to me when I left home. They’re squirreled away somewhere in my house. Objects of beauty they are not.

But what was beautiful was that time spent being nurtured by genius. Or, at least I thought it was genius.

Fast forward another 15 years to September 14, 1979 and I was busy creating something much different. My eldest daughter entered the world. Hers was the first ever natural childbirth occurring in a birthing room setting at that hospital, unlike the surgical setting in which I had my son. Because I was allowed to partially recline I actually got to see her being born. She had just poked her head into the world when she decided to take a break. Was she trying to decide if entering the world was still a good idea? I remember saying to her tiny head “Who are you?” before she finally appeared before us in all of her tiny slippery naked glory. It was a girl. And she was breathtaking to this highly nonimpartial mother. She would eventually be followed by our third child and I would spend the next few decades mothering them all before they flew off into their own lives.

Monday, as I sat in front of the wheel trying to pull a lump of clay into the shape of something of utility I was amazed at the patience of my first teacher and at his encouragement and approval of all of our creations. As my daughter celebrates her birthday I am amazed at how my daughter, long past my ministrations and guidance, continues to blossom into a mature woman.

It’s fitting, I think, that I’ve finished this painting on just this day. In my work I try to bring a little beauty into the world, not unlike bringing a child into the world. Or that I’ve embarked this week on relearning how to transform mud into mugs for that matter. Whether it’s clay on a wheel or paint on a canvas, or a small being granting me the awesome and fearsome responsibility for their future being, there’s a little pain in the creation, but a whole a lot of satisfaction in the end.

Painting: Blossoming © Lissa Banks 2022