Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Sister centered

As she wedged her clay, I immediately noticed a similarity to my rhythms and style. I also noticed an immediate difference in her kneading from my father's. "With her girl hands," I thought. Then of course, struggle with 25 year old bats, scrap from a sink countermaker in the early eighties. They were free then and expensive now, so apparently slightly warped particle board is worth the struggle. So says our dad. Bat squished firmly she began on the smaller wheel. Almost centered, everytime, almost. Workable, I would say, but then I am an easily frustrated beginner. Our dad explains to her that she must only hold still and resist the bump using the stability of her waist and core. A little more centered now. Almost. But her girl hands wobbled just like mine. Not weaker hands, but softer, more accustomed to precision, speed, and grace, less likely to swing a hammer, but no less willing. This is what neo-feminism is about. A shift from a politics of neutrality to a politics of difference. Accepting our differences and reveling in our equality. Standing together. Peers. I believe us all to be equally competent at anything we put our minds to, but I believe that our aptitudes will be a result of utilizing our strengths and cutting sharp diagonals through our weakness and cowardess.

almost centered. more suggestions from dad. a little more slippery, a little less centered, and little more frustrated. Let me show you what I do with my girl hands I suggested. I tried from opposite her on the wheel. no good. explanation instead then: Listen Julie. This is what I imagine. When you slap the clay onto the bat, there are extra lumps spinning and bumping you from the outside, but no matter how you manipulate it, they are only adjustments. It helps me to consider that somewhere in this spinning mass, there is already clay that is still, spinning perfectly without wobble. Pull your arms in tight to your chest. They are better for holding than swinging. with each fist, compress the clay along one of it's two axes of rotation: top to bottom and side to side. Compress both of these towards the centered clay in the middle until they smooth themselves out. A strong hug to her chest, and slight acceleration and bam. centered.

I find that I am more inspired when I choose to embrace instead of fight my nature. Obvious maybe, but it seems to take more discipline sometimes to relax than to fight. Thus is a consequence of circumstance.

The following is a note I got from my sister tonight:

"you should think about the age of clay and how everytime you make a pot you're recreating history. that's what I think about. how I'm taking a piece of the past that got left behind and now I'm making use of it. wether it be something pretty to look at, something fun to play with, something to teach with, or something to contain something else.

also how it pretty much has a mind of its own and if you want it to move or do a certain thing all you ahve to do is ask it to....with your hands...and your lungs...I found that if you aren't breathing, then things don't work out.. so while I'm wedging clay I take time to meditate a little bit. and close my eyes and get centered. and when I'm getting my wheel ready I focus on breathing and doing thigs gracefully and when I center the clay I close my eyes and just ask it to expose the stillness of it's middle.

I'm rambling. love you bye "

She's a beautiful inspiration to me. If I could impart one more bit for her, it is this: no regrets. Why? Because there are no such thing as consequences. No reprecussions unsurvivable and unforgivable. There is only cause and effect. The cause for regret would generally be a decision which caused unwanted consequence, but i say don't regret these. Know that the cause was yourself. This self at that moment had all the tools and resources it could have, even if it wasn't your most admirable moment, it was you, you are your best. The effect is only a lesson which has probably already passed. Learn always. Live your life at your best and live with no regrets.

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