Author Topic: Jude makes pots.  (Read 33590 times)


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Jude makes pots.
« on: March 24, 2018, 11:56:09 AM »
Jude, making pots on the wheel.
Talking to customers as she works.
A  practical apron covers her ample frame,
but her Hippy blouse and skirt peep out.

"I'm not an artist.  I don't do fancy."
Centring up the clay on the wheel
almost without looking.
"I went to Art College but this isn't Art."

Dipping her hands into the water,
spatulate fingers working the clay.
"I'm just a plain working potter.
I make pots to be used, not looked at."

The brown clay, firmed down and slick,
now begins to rise as she shapes it.
"My partner does the Arty stuff,
pots with holes that can't hold water."

The sides take form,
narrowing and thinning,
urged upwards, gently upwards
into her trademark pint mug.

She pushes her hair back,
the back of her hand almost clean
and cleaner still afterwards,
leaving a brown mark on her forehead.

Dark brown eyes glitter with amusement
because she knows what happened,
and one leg steadily kicks the treadle
to keep things spinning.

"It's a miracle I don't walk in circles."
Under her hippy skirt one leg is noticeably stronger.
"But I don't like electric wheels.
They tend to dictate the pace, set their own rhythm."

"We have one at Tech college, where I teach
and it separates Potters from Dabblers.
There's a connection with the kick wheel
you'll never find with a motor."

Then she takes a wire to the pot,
slides it onto a board in one smooth move,
puts it on a shelf to dry,
and takes another lump from her tub.

Twelve pots later she starts on the handles.
Rolling clay sausages like a kid, before
squaring the edges with a thumbstroke
as she breaks them to length.

"It's a production line really, by hand."
Curls the handles onto a board to dry.
"No two exactly the same,
but like brother and sister, or cousins."

Later you'll see her smoothing them into place,
secured with runny slip to make a flawless joint.
"People sometimes drop my mugs,
but the handles never fall off."

Then carving the names with a v-shaped tool
when the clay has reached the leather stage.
And still denying it's art, even when carving
perfect O's and evenly curved S's.

She can't make pots when she's angry
so she leads an ordered life.
"Not very exciting at all.  I need a steady hand."
But she smiles as if she doesn't believe herself.

Eyes twinkling at memories of Art School,
when she was young and wild.
When she sought Art and Self Expression
before realising she had a Craft.

Jude throws shapeless clay onto her wheel,
talking to customers as her broad hands,
sure and deft with years of experience
work their daily miracle.

« Last Edit: March 13, 2020, 07:34:23 PM by Gyppo »

Mark Hoffmann

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Re: Jude makes pots.
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2018, 12:15:25 PM »
Great read. Very enjoyable.


Writing humour is the hardest thing since sliced bread.

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    • Daan Katz
Re: Jude makes pots.
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2018, 05:13:14 PM »
Nice. I can picture it.
Daan Katz, Author - Where the Magic Happens
The Elven Curse - Kings, priests, elves, and a woman in a wheelchair


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Re: Jude makes pots.
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2018, 05:24:40 PM »
Nice. I can picture it.

Thanks.  That means I succeeded ;-)

I wrote this just a few years ago for National Poetry Month.  But it's about thirty five years since I last saw Jude, throwing pots on her wheel.  She's probably retired by now.  Or maybe not.  I think it may be one of those trades which never really leaves you unless you become physically incapable.


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Re: Jude makes pots.
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2019, 08:03:58 PM »
Wow! Gyppo, this takes me back.

I believe a tear of remembrance and appreciation for my summer with the potters was invoked by your poem. Thank you so much for reminding me. It was a magical summer and this is a magical poem.
 :) :-*
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