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  • Sue Stelzmann

The Hammer

Every ceramicist should get a free hammer with their first bag of clay. Shocking I know, but after 25 years of working in clay it is very clear that letting go of old work and bad ideas is the best way to move forward. With one satisfying hammer blow the past is released and I can focus on creating the next best thing.

Tallahassee Clay Arts is a year old and I haven’t made one decent piece of art since I started this club. My studio has cobwebs, clay is getting stiff, and my kiln is sad and lonely. But I needed to start the club to get the connection to other people started. I was missing that. Now after a summer of cleaning out my house, I turned to cleaning out my studio and getting rid of old stuff I haven’t used in 20 years. YES I CAN NOW count in DECADES!

Gone are old tools, forms and texture stamps that I have too many of. I have smashed up pieces that I made in art school and in my little home apartment studio in the 90’s. All those old thrift store bargain are now in the dump because I cannot bear to bend down to the tyranny of those old projects that have been on my to do list for ever.

In exchange, I have gained space in my wonderful studio and acceptance of my process as an artist. I don’t manufacture a collection of wares – instead, I accept that I am an eclectic learner and enjoy assimilating many ideas. With weeks of cleaning and decluttering, I can now respond to the itch that makes me want to create. As every artist knows, there is that period of time when your doubts overwhelm you; but cleaning out and resetting your workspace can be freeing. And maybe a hammer is the best tool you can have in your clay studio.

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