May 9, 2013


After throwing for the last 13 years sitting on a stool, now I have made the shift to throwing pots while standing up.  The past couple of years I have had increasing low back pain from my potter's life.  Leaning over the wheel, loading and unloading kilns, picking up heavy boxes of clay, scraping many a potter's kiln shelves plus my own, loading the car for shows, working long hours every day in the studio....well, let's just say these things have started to take their toll.  Not to mention I love to hike and garden.  I love hard work.  I love my potting life.  But what it does to your body is scary, so I have been really starting to pay attention.  I also have been striving for a sense of balance in my work to life ratio. I'm trying to force myself to slow down and do less.  That is a hard thing to do when you're a seriously focused worker-bee potter type like myself.

I have been actively doing yoga for the past two years, which I absolutely love and can't go a day without doing morning and evening.  It has brought me more than just physical well-being.  It grounds me, relaxes me, and I've even noticed that it gives me more self confidence in other things I encounter.  I recently have started a class on Feldenkrais, Awareness through Movement, which focuses on the relationship between movement and thought.  Simply put, breaking down movements very slowly, you can start to re-train your brain to move with ease and notice the bad habits you have established.  I'm trying to apply it to how I move through every situation throughout the day.  I've been really finding all of this I've learned about the structure of the body and muscles and moving very fascinating, and it's something that is always on my mind.  Maybe that's where some of these new skeletal - like carving patterns are coming from.  I just thought I'd share what's going on in the studio and in my head these days.  Making changes like these aren't easy, but I'm determined to work through them because I love being able to make pots and I want to continue to do so.


Anonymous said...

Very well thought out Joy. I am also a potter and this inspires me to maybe be more aware of my body in the studio environment. I love pottery but sometimes I wonder why I didn't pick a lighter art like jewelry making or watercolor:-) Just kidding of course.

Christine Covert said...

Feldenkreis is a wonderful process. I have used it often since taking a single class more than 25 years ago.
I also think throwing standing up rocks! Way better use of the human structure.
Best wishes in your restructuring!

Kaye Marsh said...

As your physical therapist "aunt-in-law" I am happy to see you being pro-active. Ron also spent years loading, unloading comics, records, concert equipment, etc in his many self-employed endeavors and it definitely took a toll on his back in later years. So sounds like you are being smart about things! I have spent a lifetime lifting children of various sizes and I find it catching up with me now as well. Strength training definitely more important as you age! I always loved being active but hated the weights-realize I need it more now!

alexander solla said...

I threw standing up for 15 yrs and loved it so much more than sitting. The only negative I ever felt was that my "pushing" muscles in my back and shoulders became very overdeveloped and now I am dealing with lingering kiphosis.

Luckily, I love my physical therapist.

Your work continues to grow! Love the images you keep posting.