The title for this column is the inspiration but not the focus of my writing.
You see my sister Debbie (sweet, insane) recently gave me a clay bowl she made herself. I left the bowl at work by mistake
and several people asked me about the beautiful bowl and from where it originated. The bowl was “thrown”
by Deb’s hands but I think it originated closer to her heart.
The bowl my sister made has become my favorite.
It’s made from red clay that is actually almost maroon before it is fired in a kiln. Debbie used white glaze
around the rim that almost looks like frosted sugar with little green streaks the appear like spears of grass. The great
thing is that after all of this beauty has been fired in a kiln, it’s food and dishwasher safe. It also makes
whatever it contains taste better. I thought the improved taste might just be in my mind but Deb said she and her family
go for the home made bowls instead of the store-bought version. It’s like the difference between cookies made
in your kitchen and the ones from a store shelf, home made is better. My sister says that her goal is to make a clay
pot that can be used daily and looks good-in that order. It must run in the family because I hate it when a restored
tractor just sits in a shed looking good but never gets a chance to show off in the field. Beauty that is fragile and
must constantly sit under glass isn’t very pretty.
I listened to my sister Deb talk about her clay work recently.
She gives credit to Ann Pierson from “Of the Land” gallery in Red Lake Falls, Mn for most of her efforts in pottery.
I’m sure this is true but when I see one of my sister’s bean pots or cereals bowls it reminds me only of Deb.
The pots are hard-working and graceful with quiet beauty and character gained during hours of focused work. Deb’s
pottery is also simple like the simplicity she strives for in her own daily life, no busy designs or extra texture.
I stared at her work for a bit and one phrase continually ran through my mind, “the outside of a pottery jar mirrors
what’s inside it’s maker.” My sister Deb recently dug some clay from near our old hometown.
Clay for pottery is found about twenty feet below ground but there is a deep pit on my dad‘s old farm. I
think Debbie wants people to know where she’s from and a clay pot made out of Viking, Minnesota is the best way she
knows to tell them.
My sister Deb will tell you that her pottery isn’t ready for retail. I think she compares
herself with pottery greats such as Professor Emeritus Warren Mckenzie of Stillwater, Minnesota too much. I can’t
speak intelligently about the quality of a pottery or it’s retail value. I just like my new cereal bowl- and my