Just like a line from the Talking Heads' "Once in a Lifetime" song that says, "How did I get here?" is a relevant question for anyone. But how did I get started in clay? I started down the path of clay like most kids, in the mud or sand. But of course getting sandy or dirty wasn't in the cards, especially by parental standards. Yet art was always in my life. It was because I was, by some lucky draw of the straw, an Army brat. I know you are shaking your heads, but its simple. Living overseas in Germany and Belgium, weekends meant packing up early (and I mean early, like 5 a.m.) for a drive to a neighboring country, where Dad, camera slung around his neck, would guide us through museums, castles, cathedrals, ruins and quaint backstreets of quainter still towns. We had the luxury of seeing ancient, medieval and Renaissance art, close up and personal. As a kid, I assumed that art encompassed only painting and drawing. So, pencil in hand, I drew like a maniac.
Unfortunately for me, I did not pursue art in college. My parents were not inclined to spend their hard earned money on an education that may result in me living in their basement while drawing wild animals on the walls. But my senior year I needed one more class, something that would be easy, so I signed up for a pottery class.
Love at first sight? Darn close to it. I especially loved the 3D nature of it. And truth be known, I really loved the getmyhandsdirtyness of it (there's that little girl in the mud puddle again!)
In the years that followed, there were jobs, I fell in love, married, had our wonderful daughter, more jobs, my own business, work, work, work.
"Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by, water flowing underground
Into the blue again after the money's gone
Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground"*
It became clear to me that I needed something other than my family, daily routine and the drudgery of work to get my inner fire lit again (wine works but has its own issues!) So, I signed up for a pottery class. BAM! I fell in that rabbit hole like a guided missile. Everyday, I came home from work and started building some new, slightly weird creation in my kitchen. There were so many failures, but it was the act of making that gave me great joy. Now, I just needed to find a way to stay this happily crazy all the time, but with more successful results out of the kiln.
Couple more years pass; I'm in and out of various clay studios, still up to my elbows in clay-love when I decided to go back to school. At the Institute of Art and Design at New England College in Manchester, New Hampshire, I signed up for their Life Long Learning Program in Ceramics and after three years received my certificate in ceramics. All set? Not quite, need to stew at my job for several more years.
During the time of my ceramics studies, I slowly created my studio. First a wheel, then the kiln, and of course every glaze (like candy) I fell in love with. I participated in several craft and pottery shows and when we moved to North Carolina, I taught at the Bear Hands Art Factory.
We are almost full circle. As I transition to a new me and lifestyle, I wanted to incorporate my love of craft, of clay and of the miles of beautiful coastline I have been fortunate to live at most of my adult life. Seasoned with a love of design and home renovation, the tile business was the answer. Welcome to Tidewater Tileworks, our ongoing and growing business combining all my favorite passions into a sustainable lifestyle for myself and family.
Thank you for joining us. And remember, you are never too young or too old to fulfill your dreams.
*"Once in a Lifetime", Talking Heads, written by David Byrne and Brian Eno.