Wabi-sabi?

A regular shape executed with some precision whose finished surface appears haphazard.

Is that me? In reverse?

A symmetrical vessel that apparently operates per ‘design’ but whose finish — the internal surface or substance — is yet forming and shaping. How much care was attneded to the glaze and sealing of this clay?

Life can be planned, prepared for, executed on but must always be responded to. The plans just mitigating the change and entropy that inevitably adjust or subvert the path.

Was there intent to the finish? Certainly, some. But I suspect that every particle of ash, pigment, wasn’t perfectly placed but rather a general impression and effect was hoped for.

Perhaps if my approach to life was more haphazard and reactive (responsive?) it would be likewise less precise, more interesting. Not exactly a leaf in a stream being swept along but at least not so heavily proscribed or avoiding.

Tools, skills and practice bring experience and knowledge to inform our endeavors. The potter brought the same to his ceramic enterprise yielding a result that balances intent and serendipity of physics: mass, trajectory, gravity, pressure, heat, moisture, chemical reaction — all played their role in this final result.

The skill and experience of the potter came together to create this intended object. What can I bring to the bench to create an intentional life product? What are the physics of humanity, the material ingredients of a life? The gravity of morality. The structure of principle. The line of discipline. The embracing of chaos, the unexpected opportunity.

St Louis Art Museum
with Kathy Lewis and friends
September 7, 2012