The Atlanta Lawyer February / March 2019 - Page 23

A new way of thinking. One of the difficulties I have encountered in my ceramics classes has been altering my thinking to embrace ambiguity and uncertainty. As at- torneys we are always planning for contingencies. Pottery demands you to go with the flow. There are very few absolutes. Often my mental image of a piece and the final result are worlds apart. People who do not know what I expected are often complimentary of a piece, yet I have to sit with it for days - sometimes weeks - before accepting it as-is. Letting go of the constraints I have placed on my pottery has allowed me to be more open in other areas of my life as well. Lack of competition. We work in an adversarial profession. Some days it feels more cutthroat than others, but on one level or another, the other side is seeking to prevail. In the ceramics studio, my suc- cess does not diminish that of my fellow potters. Many of the artists there have been honing their craft for more than twenty years. They are all willing to share their knowl- edge. They know even if people attempt to replicate part of their technique the outcome will not be the same. When we retrieve pieces from the kiln and examine each other’s work, there is noth- ing but praise, support and useful feedback for everyone. Complete focus. While I am in the studio, I have to set my other affairs aside. The physical location of the studio helps; it is in the basement and cell phone reception is spotty at best. Nevertheless, pottery de- mands my full attention. If I come into the studio with the weight of the world on my shoulders, it is usually gone by the end of my session. In the working world, I am often pulled in many differ- ent directions. The frenetic pace of ordinary life has to take a back seat while I am in the studio, and my life is better for it. Creation. I am still amazed that I can take a ball of clay that has been dug up from the ground and turn it into a vase, a mug, or a bowl. It would not exist without my hands. My vision and craft got it to the finish line. As lawyers we do not always have a lot to show for our hard work. It is nice to be able to have a physical representation of the time I have spent on a project. No matter the medium, I would encourage every- one to find a creative out- let. Pottery has allowed me to grow in all aspects of my life, not just as an artist. It has improved my relationships with my friends and family, and I get to explore parts of myself I thought I left behind in elementary school. It is pure, unadul- terated fun. Stoneware vase: Spearmint glaze with sodium silicate application; soda fired. Stoneware vase: Tenmoku glaze with flashing slip and sodium silicate application; soda fired. The Official News Publication of the Atlanta Bar Association THE ATLANTA LAWYER 23