The Clay Lady’s Books
A blog for artists and art teachers


The Art of Trust – an excerpt from Danielle~The Clay Lady’s Lesson Book for Potters

You must be brave to be an artist.

There are myths and legends about artists. Some tell the story of how art changed lives or the course of history.  In contrast, some tell the story of how art is not worthy of a pursuit, that the odds of success are the same as winning the lottery.  There are as many opinions as there are colors.

And yet, we create.

We create when it is easy. We create when it is hard. We create when we are told not to. We create even when we are told what to create.  We find ways to gather our supplies, find the time, find the space, find the course of action that gets our thought and feeling in the world.

We face the fact that being an artist is committing to a frugal life.  Our abundance comes from our joy, our love of our livelihood, the moments when the viewer of our work understands what we wanted to voice.  In times of lack, we find reminders of how unlimited creation is as we watch a yellow leaf falling into a pile of thousands or contemplate how the oceans are made of drops of water.  We find time in the stretch of early mornings or late nights. We find support in our community of like-minded artists and art enthusiasts. We find inspiration for our art in the smallest of moment or the largeness of the sky.

We make the journey one step at a time. Like rocks across a creek, we lift ourselves from one to step on the next. Willing to get our feet wet, hoping for the other side, trusting our vision is clear and the next rock is stable.

We trust. We trust that the calling that propels us to create is behind us. Under us. Over us. Beside us.  We trust because when we did not think it would work. It did.  We trust because when our pots misfired, or the color of paint dried too dark, or the song went off key, or the tool on the turning wood chattered, we knew we could start again. This time with renewed energy to make it right. We are not diminished by mistakes, misfires, misgivings, or miserliness. We are enhanced by these challenges. We use them as tools to create at higher levels. To make the voice of the piece clear and concise.

We trust because we see how nature trusts. The trees trust the seasons; letting the sap fall to the root in winter knowing the spring sun will draw the sap back to the branch.  The birds trust the instinct to fly miles and miles to warmth or nesting grounds. The fruit grows on the vine without any instruction or influence. The harmony of soil, sun, and rain bring life from the invisible.  We trust because we know we are a component of this complex and beyond understanding confluence of energy.

We are brave. Our bravado is born from trust. We know the mighty power that keeps us up at night building in our mind, that enters our dreams with insight, that keeps our hands itching to touch the clay or hold the tool, that sees the hidden in the obvious, that creates life from thought – this mighty power is inside us.

We trust because, if this urge to create is so powerful in us, surely it is powerful enough to support us.

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