The Little Things

imageI haven’t thrown any clay in over a year, my time being split between work and writing. (And, with summer fast approaching, home care and gardening.) I miss creating things by hand, but here’s the not-so-secret truth:

Making objects of art conflicts with minimalistic tendencies.

Every wall can become a gallery, every shelf a collection – to say nothing of a sculpture garden that’s more sculptures than plants. (If you have friends who are artists or live in an artistic community, the tendency to add to your holdings increases!)

I thought it was cute when minimalists talked of curating clothes and tools. But it truly is curating in this case.

I have given away some of my best sculptures and handmade plates and – after great hesitation – tossed my worst.* I sold some manufactured cereal bowls to make room for four of my creations. I use my tiny, perfect vase to hold a single short-stemmed flower like a grape hyacinth or a daisy; it replaced a store-bought bud vase.

Using pieces everyday gives me a feeling of accomplishment. I’m disinclined to buy anything new because I’m satisfied with what I have.

My greatest satisfaction came when I used four small bowls as planters for succulents. I got the idea from wall-hanging succulent gardens that began appearing a couple years ago in decorating and gardening advice. Perhaps you’ve seen then: vertical wooden frames with chicken wire holding in the base for the succulents’ roots.

In my version above, the bowls sit on wooden shelves I inherited from my maternal grandparents. They don’t need much care except occasional watering and dusting.


*My wonderful teacher, Carolyn Szymanski, told me that one of her teachers instructed her to create 100 bowls. After she finished, he gave her a bat and told her to destroy them. It was a lesson in impermanence and… something else. I forgot because my mind boggled about making 100 pieces, let alone destroying them!