Annette Brown, Lifetime The story of June Carter Cash comes to life in the…
- Posted on Dec 4th 2009 2:36PM by Matthew Sweet
I am a potter. It's hard even for me to believe! To make a long story short, I kind of co-opted the idea from my wife, who had a kiln for many years, and at my suggestion picked up a wheel a few years ago. While the messy, grueling impossibility of success on the wheel quickly drove her from the process (she does still occasionally make lovely hand-built pieces), she had collected a small treasure trove of vintage mid-century pottery books that I promptly devoured. Before long, I had internally declared, "I think i could do this!"
As with music, there are forces of the universe at work at the wheel. The clay itself is from the very earth we stand on. A whole new respect for water, chemistry, heat and the laws of nature gets in your head. Maybe the closest feeling I have had to the potting experience was through Zazen (sitting zen), which is basically letting the reality of your breath and the ground help you quiet crazy human thoughts. For me, this thinking led right back to music.
Music can seem so small and fragile to me, an invisible vibration, rather than something I really DO. it works best for me when I can completely let go, much the opposite of thinking or controlling.
I find making pottery or music frequently humbling. One day you can throw great, the next may be like starting over. One day song flows from the air, and another nothing comes.
But there is one difference between the final results of music and pottery -- the pottery results in a concrete object, almost like music frozen in a moment of time, but an object nonetheless. It sits there, this small gesture, handmade by one person, with no pressure to represent.
If my little object only has to be a personal little piece of art, I realized it was quite refreshing to think of my music that way -- as a little handmade object, pressure free ... my small personal world ... and I think this is what is meant by artistic freedom. Long live handmade music as art!
For more information on Matthew Sweet's pottery, visit Etsy.com/shop/LolinaArtPottery.