HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN THE POTTERY BIZ?
One of my first memories of clay is shaping tombstones for the various dead bees and birds I buried in shoebox coffins lined with scraps of satin in the little graveyard I built in the woods behind our house. I would etch sentiments into the clay memorials like "Here lies Tweetie, He was a very nice bird, too bad the cat ate him." or "Here lies Walter the Robin, Hopefully the glass doors in Heaven will all be Open." I artfully arranged the headstones around a gravel path I constructed by removing a portion of our own driveway. One day, my brother decided to host a neighborhood softball game and chose to use the majority of my grave markers as bases. That put an end to my backyard boneyard and clay days.
Fast forward many years, and I was working as a Kindergarten teacher when the movie GHOST was released.
Despite rumors to the contrary, it was not Patrick Swayze and Unchained Melody that lead me to sign up for classes at a local studio the next week: it was Demi Moore's HAIR. In addition to plunking down a class deposit, I chopped my own locks off that same week. You would have thought I had learned a lesson from previous attempts to emulate Farrah's and Dorothy Hammil's hairdos, but no. That's another blog about how you should Never Copy a Celebrity's Hair unless you have that Celebrity's Face and Body.
Even though I had grown up with pottery, and some could argue that I had the genes of a potter, I was not naturally good at pottery. In fact, I pretty much Sucked Eggs. I know this because every time the instructor needed an example of what "Not To Do" he would always politely ask if he could hold up something I'd made.
But I was totally hooked in a Clay under the Fingernails, Glaze in your Hair, Always Dusty Shoes kind of way. And I told myself that I would work very hard at it for five years, and that if in five years I still Sucked Eggs, that I would quit.
But I had forgotten that I was Poor, and that pottery classes were expensive. I could not afford to make doorstopper after doorstopper and give them all away to friends and family. So even though I could barely shape an ashtray, I started putting my stuff on a card table and standing on a street corner every Saturday and Sunday, hoping to make enough money to be able to afford materials and classes for the week ahead. Seriously: many of my items looked like this:
Now imagine the above, glazed BROWN.
Anyhoo: New York is a heckuva town. People love a story and love to support someone who is going after their dreams. So miraculously, I managed to sell enough brown turdy looking pots to have three years go by, at which time I started to have some basic skill at the craft. And then I had MY FIRST REALLY BIG IDEA.
I graduated to bigger street fairs and started making CONDOM HOLDERS. My most popular ones were a jar with a big gherkin on the lid that read PROTECT YOUR
These are very big in New York-they are the cups we get our coffee in at the coffee carts. They were a huge hit and basically helped build the empire that MUD is now.
And really, this blog post is getting too long so I will wrap it up. But I will say that I started in pottery full of passion and resolve, and that in the end it is those two qualities that led me to success in the field. Along the way, I met a ton of people far more talented than I (HELLO JONATHAN ADLER.) Some went on to great success (DAMN YOU JONATHAN ADLER) and some did not. I just was the girl who used to stand at the table at the street fair, holding a pee for hours, afraid to miss a sale.