Potter Lucy Clark talks about her technique, the influence and feng shui, and her experience with ABI.
AS: Tell us about your career transition and why you love working with clay.
LC: I have been a licensed massage therapist for over 20 years. In that time, my hands have become very sensitive to the inconsistencies of muscle spasms. I always found that I was working to smooth the muscles out; to get them to calm down and gently release back into a fluid structure. With this training, I thought I might be able to work with clay. I attempted the wheel initially, and was disappointed and frustrated with my lack of abilities. Then, I had a friend suggest to me that I should take a hand building class.
After building my first pot, I was convinced that the clay had indeed chosen me, and I felt truly honored and humbled. Since making that first piece, I have been focused on my evolution as a potter.
The process constantly intrigues me, making me want to push my carvings to another level or burnishing a pot until it almost looks like glass. It is my true intention to touch clay the rest of my days, hopefully transitioning from a full time massage practice into more of an art centered life and career.
AS: What is special about your creative process?
LC: One of the things that I truly love about hand building is that no two pieces are alike. They all take on a life of their own.
One of the nice things about hand building is that it takes time for each coil to dry before another one can be placed. In that time, I have the opportunity to imagine where the piece might want to go. When the piece is finished, I must wait a full month before I can fire it, because it needs to be bone dry.
The piece is fired very slowly, using a low fire technique. When it reaches temperature in the kiln, I shut it off, allowing the piece to “cool” to 1000 degrees. At that critical juncture, my husband is kind enough to remove it from the kiln, using Kevlar gloves and place it in sawdust. That is where nature takes over once again. Depending upon whether I submerge the piece in sawdust or just lay it on top, I will either get a graduated effect of color or solid black.
ABI: How do you use your knowledge of feng shui as an artist?
LC: A few years ago, I took a course to become a Feng Shui practitioner at The New England School of Feng Shui. The director, Amy Mims, taught a type of feng shui that allowed a practitioner to use his or her intuition as part of any remedy, rather than just focusing on fixed directions. Since I tend to rely on my intuition to create my path in life, this type of practice was right up my alley. It is also how I create my work.
Every space that I look at as a Feng Shui practitioner must have an easy flow to it. The eye should be able to meander without any sharp edges, corners or objects to stop it. I work on that “chi” or energy flow with each piece of my pottery. Every time I create a piece, I am honoring the balance of nature, as well as following my own intuition.
ABI: What about your experience with the Arts Business Institute workshop helped you with your new business?
LC: There was such invaluable information shared by the presenters at the conference. Each presenter really opened up and gave the participants freely of their hard won knowledge and experience.
I am looking forward to implementing a lot of changes on my website as well as utilizing some great marketing tools that I learned from the conference. Whether I decide to dive into the wholesale market or focus more on the retail shows, I have gained a great education and a clear outline on how to proceed.