Pots and Poetry: Two Halves to a Whole

By Vanessa Norris
Artists Website

Vanessa Norris

When I start creating a new body of work, I allow myself to explore forms and imagery seemingly without a plan. I may have a sense of what I’m beginning to work toward, but I do not map out the entirety of what I want to happen. Placing limits on the end product of my work simply serves to stifle my creative process. I start with details that interest me, that are perhaps out of the ordinary (a hollow foot, a protrusion that serves no clear functional purpose), and I run with them. Even my own understanding of those early thoughts generally does not fully develop until I’ve made several iterations and had a chance to use my pieces, to play with them.

About a year ago, I rekindled my relationship with writing through the avenue of poetry. When I write, I am able to reach further into what is on my mind both in and outside the studio. Poetry is a conversation I have with myself--another way of processing the world and cementing what I cannot yet vocalize. And with few exceptions, I write without the foresight that anyone will see what I produce, which gives me the freedom to explore my brain free of constraints. There are no deadlines, no word minimums--just experimentation. It is raw; it is deeply personal, and it has become an essential part of my life and practice.

Vanessa Norris

Below is poetry by Vanessa

a mess
but a raw sweet symphony

he whispers wind
and my tongue worships his storm

singing love
our language like honey
together we run beneath time
dreaming always of music

In the midst
of this mist
I must confess
to living this life
high on idioms
(cloud 9 and the like)

dripping droplets
remind me of falling
(in love)
always looking for
that silver lining

wishing to be
to a line,
another cloud,
even perhaps a dot--
perilously positioned in the air
climbing ever higher,
connecting to the particles
that surround it

how I scratch
and melt
into those lines
ignoring the confines of time,
finding myself
preoccupied with
and the repetition of
the rhythm present
in the palms of my hands,
scratching and twisting
the fabric of my mind
until I can’t squeeze myself

and the truth
you always see
in my written words,
in between the lines of
every promise &
every pause.

I am pursuing the path ahead
and I walk,
not behind nor before
but beside you,
beckoning our future.

Deborah Schwartzkopf

Rat City Studios is the workspace of Deborah Schwartzkopf, Seattle based studio potter and instructor. Her mission is to engage and build community through clay – one person, one neighborhood, and one experience at a time. In service to this pursuit, she offers studio assistant positions for emerging artists, connects people through social events, instructs classes and workshops, and maintains a lively career in the ceramic arts!