Don't Cry over Shattered Pottery
Written by Lyndsay
"Don't touch that!" This cry, always uttered by an anxious parent, has bounced off the walls of Angelo's studio since my parents bought the place. Allow a herd of small humans into a room full of fragile objects and even the most relaxed parent will become a little nervous. However, my own experiences with toddlers and pottery have taught me that it's never too early to hand a toddler some bisque and a paintbrush.
Although I don't have kids of my own, two of my favorite people in the world are two little girls, and at 6 and 3, they are already well acquainted with delicate pottery. Even before each of the girls reached the age where they began to eat solid foods, I gave them each a baby plate painted at Angelo's. I know what you are thinking - you are already placing bets on how long it took the toddlers to send their plates crashing onto the floor into a million sharp pieces, but each plate saw countless meals. Clara - one of the most careful humans I know, used hers until she outgrew the little compartments. Rosie, who lives life a bit more on the edge, has chips and cracks running along her baby plate, but it has been repeatedly glued back together and cherished all the same.
When the girls got old enough to move beyond their sippy cups, I painted each of them a child's cup from Angelo's. When Clara's was dropped the first time, shattered beyond use, we turned it into a delightful excuse to spend time together. Instead of repainting hers for her myself, Clara came in and picked her own owl mug, and we spent an hour together creating not just a mug, but memories. Naturally, the owl mug has since broken, and so during winter break we sat down together again with another mug project - this time she chose the "cause mug", carefully silk screening a sea turtle onto the back of it. The joy of the silk screening wasn't just the sweet looking turtle that it produced, but Clara's realization that she had grown older, and in growing older was able to do something that she hadn't been able to do last year. Rosie also came in to do her own plate this time, filling her plate with a mass of lime green, blue, and purple marks that, she explained to me, made a pretty cute dog. So how long will these pieces of art last? Well, that's really beside the point.
When the turtle mug and the dog plate bite the dust, I may get a tearful phone call, but then the girls and I will sit down again for a couple more blissful hours. We will make a few more memories together and revel in the fact that we can do different things now than we could the last time we sat down at the pretty colored tables together. The time and effort we put into painting pottery teaches us how to value things, but at the same time, it can teach us how to move on. Life happens; pottery breaks; sometimes we lose something we cherished. And when the worst happens, and you can't manage to put the shattered pieces back together again, sometimes what you are left with is the opportunity to make something much more important.