Clay Opening

by: Rita S. Ryan

The opening of the kiln is the most remarkable experience I have with clay. The clay goes into the kiln as an ugly duckling and comes out as a beautiful swan. Seeing all the glittery, pretty colors is like having a birthday each and every day, each pot wrapped in fancy gift paper and a bow. Not ever really knowing what the results will be adds to the excitement of trying new colors and ideas, every lift of the kiln lid is an adventure. Certainly, it taps my inner child.
Another aspect that occurs in the throwing stage of clay is called “opening” at this moment of opening a wheel thrown piece, instinctively the potter knows if a pot will be worthy to end up being glazed or tossed in the recycle bin!

I haven’t really figured out what I want out of clay nor, might I add, what the clay wants out of me. I did manage to build a studio in my home by adding on a room. There doesn't ever seem to be enough time in the day to do all I would like in clay. I can't tell you how much time I take cleaning before creating, it’s a “clean freak thing” It's like making the bed before you go to sleep. The results may be intangible, but there is no better feeling than working in a clean space. I absolutely love having my own space to create.

My mornings are spent analyzing futures markets. I believe my analytical skills are the best asset I have with my clay projects, I can really look through a piece with an objective eye.

There are many great potters here in NM and one thing they all have in common is sharing. Potters are by far the most generous group of people (aside from Lutherans and their food) that I've ever run across and I am happy to be considered a potter!

Rita S. Ryan
Clay Artist