There are hundreds of poses that we hold each time we make something by hand, from beating egg whites to a soft peak with an egg whip and a copper bowl, to trimming the foot on a wet clay bowl with a favorite Dolan trimming tool. These poses become meditations, positions that we hold over and over again, hundreds and thousands of times in our lives, and can be moments of pause, relaxation, meditation, or moments of strength and power, locking into the habit with strong intention.
At best, these positions of familiarity are moments that I can relax into, recognizing that I have been here before, and that each time I make these moves, I am the same person, and I am a different person.
Years ago, Jack Troy and I spoke about making things, and how some folks tend towards the Guppies version of production, and others towards the Elephants. The Elephants produce one offspring at a time, and the incubation rate is quite long and slow. The Guppies produce many, many offspring, do it often, and even eat some of them to survive themselves (akin to recycling of my own work?). While I don’t think that I’m consistently on one end or the other of this spectrum, probably most often towards the middle, the realization of how familiar these hand positions have become points closer to Guppies than to Elephants.
Yet every time, the bowls are a little different. Siblings of their current batch, cousins to the ones who came before. We are always changing and growing, taking in new ideas and influences. Thank goodness.
But my hands….my hands and shoulders and core muscles remember, and relax, revisiting again and again the left hand fingers barely touching the rim, the right pinkie finding the balance, the left thumb connecting both hands, and my eyes in soft focus.