On Making Pots for Valentine’s Day
Traditionally I’ve had a Valentine’s Day sale, giving it little thought since the content of my work is so much about the sentiments of love. This year, with all the changes in my life and the quiet insulation that winter brings, I’ve been reflecting on what it means to make work in general and for this holiday in particular.
For many people, Valentine’s Day brings up strong feelings that run the spectrum from gratitude and lightness to absence and loss. By the same token, I’d like my work to hold enough complexity for one’s own unique story, yet leave enough direction to suggest the kind of optimism I ultimately believe in. There have been times when my work has been autobiographical and other times when I leave my own stuff at the studio door in order to tap into the bigger refrain of comfort that runs throughout my work. The discipline of focusing on the grander message of why I make work in the first place is grounding and despite all the flux, if I can make something that is funny or sweet or interesting enough to comfort someone, then I think that’s enough for me as an artist trying to find meaning in the world.
Over the years of talking to people, I’ve realized that a lot of my work is given as a gift. I’ve always said that I make work as much for other people, as I do for myself, so it’s funny that my customers buy my work for other people as much as they do for themselves. I’ve made very personal pots for people I love and, of course, those feel special very naturally. Most pots, however, don’t begin with this consideration in mind, so they simply begin as objects that I love making. They’re jokes that I make to myself or warm memories that I relive. It’s both miraculous and touching to me that they become gifts. However it happens, in the end it feels like an enormous privilege to have a part in an exchange between two people that creates more love and depth.
photo credit: Chloe Aftel