Studio Potter Magazine Article: Words
.....as printed in Studio Potter Magazine, vol 35, summer/fall 2007
by Joy Bridy
On the bottom of this morning's coffee mug is the word disarm in my own handwriting: subtle, half an inch tall, yet how many times do I notice it in a year's passing?
What started out as a way to distinguish clay bodies from one another has become a subtle act of encouraging others to be alive. The word tends to be disarm or change, but occasionally morphs into breathe, laugh, and, during a residency at Pottery Northwest in Seattle, think. Every morning for a summer, on my walk from home to studio, I passed a man sleeping on the sidewalk underneath the eaves of an old theatre-gone-grassroots-church-hangout. He was covered by cardboard and blankets, with a graffiti tag spraypainted in a stylized yet readable puffy script on the brick wall above him: THINK. I can't count the number of times I did.
As a potter in the twenty-first century, I feel a thick, pressing necessity to live a life of conscience, and to incite conscientious living however I am able. Urban living has accentuated these feelings of interconnectedness and our responsibilities towards each other. Working at a woman's shelter gave me a deeper understanding of our abilities to grow and change, as well as our resistance to these same abilities. Women experiencing domestic violence may talk about leaving over twenty times before attempting to leave an abusive relationship, and on average leave twelve times before leaving for good. Repetition is powerful, like water's slow eroding of rock to form clay.
"I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate the word on the bottom of my mug," a woman said recently, pulling me aside during an outdoor sale. "It's such a good reminder.....kinda catches me off-guard."
Joy Bridy is currently an urban/traveling potter focusing on wood firing.