Our friend Norris is a potter.
When I was first introduced to him by my son Gary (I'd heard all kinds of good things about the Packer family for some time before I actually met Norris and his wife Jo (a talented painter and art teacher). About their family's adventures living in India. How much Gary enjoyed the many evenings in thoughtful discussion with Norris.), the first thing I noticed was this man's warmth. He just exudes warmth. His smiley eyes, his wide, genuine smile. Before he even said a word to me, he wrapped me up in a big hug. And his family, oh how dear to our hearts they've become!
When I heard that he made and sold pottery, I was so excited. I love pottery. (I think you know that by now.) Another reason that I knew we'd be friends for life. And because of this friendship, I knew I'd have an easier time building my collection. It makes it all so much more meaningful for me, as well, supporting those I care for who freely share their talents and gifts. And so when Norris said he'd be having a sale today, I told him I wouldn't miss it.
So Eliza came along and what a perfect, sunshiny morning it was for the sale. I was so happy for him, taking my time, looking over the tables filled with such colors, patterns, and forms of all this beautiful work. So happy that tears started to fill my eyes.
And what an extra treat to watch him at work on his wheel. Showing us and some neighbor kids almost the whole creative process. I'm so intrigued and so was Eliza (a fellow artist). Way back in high school, I did some hand built pieces, threw a bit on the wheel, and later at university, took a ceramics class. I so enjoy getting my hands in the soft, wet clay. Forms coming to life. Someday I hope to further my experience and knowledge of wheel thrown pottery.
I expressed to Norris about his craft:
"I just love the whole process. The whole idea of pottery. Yes, one could easily go to Walmart and purchase a cereal bowl or a cup-- very cheaply and oh so easily without any bit of thought or real effort, but knowing that this item was actually created with thought, hours of work and sacrifice, sweat (and sometimes tears), and especially love-- all by another human soul whose livelihood and happiness depends on his efforts and his craft. To me, this is a stark contrast and worth every extra penny. If it was possible, all my dishes would be pottery. A dream that I hope one day to see come to fruition.
Every time I pull down something you or Joe or the vendors from the farmer's market made, my thoughts always turn to you all, to your gift-- the tangible form which I hold in my hands, the intangible form brought forth through creativity, effort, and devoted, thoughtful, loving care. There's just something about taking a bit of earth, forming it to something beautiful and utilitarian at the same time, then, filling that bowl or mug or platter again with the gifts of the earth-- ( especially if one is involved both in the creation of the pottery and the creation of the food from a garden)-- and then being able to have such an intimate, sensorial experience with the piece-- taking in all the nuances and fine details with the eyes, bringing it to the mouth, or taking it, over and over and over in the hand, day after day, year after year. Such a cycle on so many levels."
If you'd like to see more, please visit his website: Packer Pottery