I’ve experienced this feeling of spontaneity in following a dream twice in 16 years. For me it happened in a ‘close the loop’ kind of way. Could it be just a coincidence?
There is an exceptional potter in Ottawa whose work is inspiring, creative, whimsical. Her painted clay works make the toughest critics smile. Her fans feel the need to take home her functional and decorative works of art. All her pots are one-of-a-kind marvels. Her creations are featured in books on pottery. Somehow she remains humble, gracious, and generous in sharing her talent and her expertize. I know this for a fact because in a naive and spontaneous move I registered for her master class on making teapots TWICE – sixteen years apart.
In my defence I must say that I read an ad that said Chandler Swain was offering a pottery class and no experience was needed. I missed the bit about it being a master class in hand-built teapots. TWICE!
I’ve always been fascinated by pottery in its artistic and functional capacity. It’s quite likely one of the most ancient of art forms and one that developed simultaneously worldwide. It has existed for thousands of years. It often tells the history of its makers and users. From a very simplistic point of view, pottery is derived from the earth that is tied to human existence. How could I resist the opportunity to experience this process first hand?
Sixteen years ago, on my first day in class with a handful of gracious experienced potters, I got a call offering me a job. The caveat was that I had to start right away. I needed the job so I accepted with my own caveat that I had a prior commitment one morning each week for 5 weeks. A couple of weeks into the job my supervisor, very hesitantly, asked me why I was somewhat ‘dusty’ on the days when I came in late. Clay has that quality.
Sixteen years later I decided to retire from that very same job. Two weeks prior to retirement I saw an ad for a pottery class with my favourite potter. I’m still fascinated by pottery. I haven’t had the opportunity to try my hand at it in the last sixteen years. I still don’t read details very well. So, of course, I registered once again. Once again I found myself with a handful of experienced potters and the most incredible teacher imaginable.
A strange coincidence! Perhaps it is simple coincidence that I saw that ad and that Chandler, who rarely teaches these classes and has been busy with other things, decided to do a one-day workshop . For me this coincidence closed a loop. My sixteen year work journey started and ended with a dream come true – the chance to experience the wonder of a fascinating ancient process.
A dear person wrote to me that retirement is a time for freedom, spontaneity and unbridled curiosity. She is absolutely right. I’ve been fortunate to enjoy my work experience serving First Nations communities. Now I’m looking forward to the wonders in the next part of my journey. And, I will admit that I don’t believe in meaningless coincidence. There is something significant in starting and ending an important segment of my journey with those pottery classes. I just have to discover what it means to me.
In wonderment, Venetia.