Are you the potter or the clay?

Have you ever squished a lump of clay in your hands? Feeling the weight and smell of the clay as you mould it into a shape. Last weekend I had an invitation to attend the firing of pots in an amazing wood fire kiln up at Maleny. Dave Handley the potter was excited and apprehensive about whether his long hours of productivity would be successful, whether the dozens of pots would come out perfect, chipped, cracked , marred or useless.

The small audience gathered to watch and witness this event in the windy, cool mountains and spectacular views of the Glasshouse Mountains. I had no idea what was going to happen. Curiosity caused me to ask many questions. Many answers were given.

40 years of thinking process and time goes into this magical, transforming event. The building of the kiln for starters took a year. There’s the right mixture of earth and water, the perfect combination of ingredients, shape, size, the control of the clay, the right glazes, the firing process etc.

It’s knowing about the impurities, the temperature, the setting up and design process.


The finished work can be scary and gut wrenching as you wait over time to see that beautiful work of art. It makes me think of the verse in the Bible, ” we are the clay. You are the potter,” referring to God. “And all of us are the work of your hand.”


If we allow God to mould and shape us, I guess we are vulnerable to the heat and troubles that come our way. We may come through strong and beautiful or chipped and broken.



The same weekend saw the Anzac celebrations and sentiment in Mapleton, a time of reflecting upon the strength and courage of past diggers, laying the wreaths and honouring the veterans. My son and grand daughter proudly wore medals as they marched at Oxley in Brisbane to remember the brave soldiers. In a way, I see my son as shaping, moulding and refining her understanding of war and memory so that she can grasp a little of the sprit of Anzac Day. At her tender age of 5, she needs the proper balance between knowing, understanding and figuring out what he has taught her. Grandad’s medals are so special to wear and value.


Now back to the potter Dave, I can say with excitement and joy that, WOW! about 80 plus pots of all shapes and sizes came out with stunning glazes and designs, warm in hand and admirable in presentation. A few didn’t work well and got stuck. Overall, these unique pieces all stood proud on a shelf and in his studio ready for sale in the future.


Have you ever had a moment when your finished work was perfect? or damaged?

Did you quietly cheer yourself or swear under your breath?

Share a story with me.

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May 11, 2016 at 10:46 pm

Beautiful artwork and beautiful words

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May 12, 2016 at 9:04 am

The beautiful art work I would love in my home ! The pots are both decorative and practical! I admire someone who can take a lump of clay and transform it into an amazing sight!

M.J. Gibbs
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