Clay requires relationship.
It moves, acts and reacts to your hands, to time, temperature, to care and love. I’m not a potter in the functional sense. Mugs and plates don’t interest me. It’s people that does. Not small figurines, nor abstract creatures personified. It’s just people that does—with God and without reference.
The first time I touched water-based clay my hands squished, rolled, patted and punched and a face emerged. I was shocked. I hated drawing people, especially portraits. I discovered as a youth that the movement of a mere line can make or break the work. So, why try? asked my then fearful self.
But clay is different. I hear my hands calling to play. They cry out to create each feature and I find myself wanting to touch people’s ears to feel how the helix curves over the fossa. I watch the movement of their lips, as I steadily tune-out their words, wondering exactly where their zygotic muscles connect to the skull below.
Clay requires intimacy.
It dries and changes and I must change with it. I must play by its rules yet communicate with it what I desire.
Together we worship our Creator God and we become something new—our hearts singing His praise.
We work until we can look at each other and say, “Hi, it’s nice to finally meet you.”
The Potter and the Clay
18 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. 4 And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.
5 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 6 “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.
— Jeremiah 18:1-6 English Standard Version (ESV)