THE POTTER’S TOUCH

THE POTTER’S TOUCH

  
  ANTIQUE POTTERY JUG MADE BY JOHN FREDERICK LEHMAN

 I love pottery!! Perhaps it is because I like to imagine my own great-great grandfather’s thoughts as he sat at the potter’s wheel day after day, spinning something functional and/or lovely from basically just some good old Alabama or Georgia clay. I like to imagine what his hands must have felt, as the semi-finished product spun around & around the wheel.

I do not think he made a lot of money during his time here on earth, but today he is known as being the foremost Southern Folk Art potter of his day, & one of his pieces lives in the High Museum in Atlanta. Others are housed in the collections of Private Investors who occasionally allow them out for traveling exhibitions. And photos of a few of his works immortalized them in the pages of a book called “Alabama Folk Art Pottery”, by Joey Brackner.

I find it fascinating to think about how my great-great grandfather had to have already had a vision of what each piece would look like before he ever sat down & started his work. He knew that with every rotation of that pottery wheel, with every little indentation he caused, with every push & pull on the clay, that he was changing that uninspiring ball of clay into something which would look & function so much better after his work was complete.

CHANGE EQUALS MOVEMENT. Without movement, nothing ever changes. One of the secrets of life is just to keep moving! When you get down & out, even a baby step counts towards getting out of that rut!

But sometime, like a lump of clay, we cannot move at all, but must “Be still” & await the potter’s hand to spin that wheel for us. I wonder, if real lumps of clay had true feelings, if it would hurt when the potter pinched them into shape?!? I’ll just bet that all of that forming & stretching would be a tad uncomfortable at times. But at other times, the unseen hand that caresses a new piece as it smooths away imperfections would feel comforting & soothing.

Then there is that Fire – I imagine it would hurt something awful when that piece is placed in the kiln, if those pottery pieces could feel the heat! But amazingly, as HOT as it gets in there, most all of the time, the pieces come out as lovely masterpieces, ready for either utilitarian use, or display! That fire seems unbearable, but it is just the finishing touch to the whole process!!

Is it not like that with people sometimes, too? We have to keep moving, in order to effect change in our lives, but there are times that. We feel uninspired, lost, & disoriented to such an extent that we can only sit there & await the Master’s touch, knowing that each little pinch, each caress, gets us one step closer to being the thing that He can use, & that people can look at with admiration. We must remember, that, if we allow Him to mold us properly during the formation process, we will come out of the fire more & stronger than ever before.

That perhaps, like some of the figural face jugs made by my great-great grandfather’s own hands before the Civil War, perhaps we will end up being of such high quality that we will be revered for generations to come, like his pieces. He has left a legacy that survives beyond not only his life span, but those of his children & some of his grandchildren. Will you allow Him to make & mold you? Will you trust that you can survive the fires of life intact so that your legacy will live on?

– Lou Lehman Sams

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LouSams

I am a Southern Belle, through and through. Born and raised in North Alabama, where my family settled in 1808, when the area was still the Mississippi Territory, I come from a line of Planters, Patriots, and Pioneers. They were people who were unafraid to take risks, who said what they believed, and who honored God and their Country. Like my ancestors before me, I have strong values, believing that the Golden Rule is indeed golden. I write as a way to relate and as a release. I hope that my words may inspire, challenge and provoke one to thinking about how extraordinary things can come out of ordinary places, people, and things.

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