And Then There Was Life

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I remember three art class teachers from my public school days. I don’t remember any of their names but oddly enough it was a lesson from the very first teacher that I remember most vividly.

We were maybe sixth graders sitting in the art class. Mr. Teacher held up a very pretty picture he had drawn with crayons. His message was Don’t let people discourage you. Art isn’t the medium you use, it is how and what you create. Even crayons in the hand of an artist become art.

I don’t remember any other art classes until my Sophomore and Junior years in high school. We did still life oils in one quarter and somewhere in there, we did pottery. I loved both oil painting and working with clay.

Working with clay has its challenges. We didn’t have class every day and if, as is normal, you don’t finish your project in one day it went back in the clay bin wrapped in wet paper towels.

The school bought our clay in large amounts. I don’t know if it came in a powder then they mixed it, or if it came wet. I have thought about and read on the subject of using ‘natural’ clay—Clay that you can dig out of the ground.

The caution as I remember with natural clay was making sure there were no rocks left in the clay. If there were rocks in the clay during the firing they would cause the piece to explode and break of course destroying the pottery.

Very seldom as we go through life do we wonder where we are going, not in the broad sense. Keep in mind as you go on your way this excerpt copied from Facebook by Rick Holland: “When I was 15 I spent a month working on an archeological dig. I was talking to one of the archeologists one day during our lunch break and he asked those kinds of “getting to know you” questions you ask young people: Do you play sports? What’s your favorite subject? And I told him, no I don’t play any sports. I do theater, I’m in choir, I play the violin and piano, I used to take art classes.
And he went WOW. That’s amazing! And I said, “Oh no, but I’m not any good at ANY of them.”
And he said something then that I will never forget and which absolutely blew my mind because no one had ever said anything like it to me before: “I don’t think being good at things is the point of doing them. I think you’ve got all these wonderful experiences with different skills, and that all teaches you things and makes you an interesting person, no matter how well you do them.”
And that honestly changed my life. Because I went from a failure, someone who hadn’t been talented enough at anything to excel, to someone who did things because I enjoyed them. I had been raised in such an achievement-oriented environment, so inundated with the myth of Talent, that I thought it was only worth doing things if you could “Win” at them.”

Jeremiah 18:

1  The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,

2  Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words.

3  Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.

4  And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

5  Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 6  O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.