019 – What Would You Do Without Clay?

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MudTalk Podcast - Pottery, Ceramics, Business
019 - What Would You Do Without Clay?


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If clay did not existThis is episode 19! Since it’s the last episode of 2018, it’s kind of an important episode. First of all, this is your last reminder to win a pottery shirt! Listen for more details at the end of the episode. It’s also important because it’s a small milestone. I can look back and see that I put together 19 episodes in 2018. That doesn’t seem like much over the course of an entire year, but considering I didn’t even know how to make a podcast until February, I’d say that we have done okay. Thanks again for listening. I definitely wouldn’t be motivated to keep going if all of you weren’t showing support.

You may not find the topic of this episode as helpful or informative as some other episodes. I really enjoyed reading all the responses though because I feel like I got to know the community a lot better. It was really interesting to see what other skills and passions you have. And sometimes it’s fun to imagine how things could be different.

There were a lot more comments than some other MudTalk Mondays. Perhaps because it was an easier question to answer? There were a lot of similar answers so I tried to group some of them together.

So let’s hear some of these responses to: What would you be doing if clay did not exist?


Dtaylorsatm Painting

Shari.sutherland.art Still painting…. just wouldn’t be as exciting.

Stonecropstudio More painting, for my soul! And maybe woodcuts for a tactile fix?

ArtbyGretaMichelle Painting in oils.

Caseydepasquale Making paintings that are thick and juicy and full of #texture!

Metal / Jewelry

Mudbird_ceramics Making jewellery/silversmithing or painting:)

PathwayPottery Metal sculpture

Conor.jensen Keep doing metal sculpture probably

DoubleMusePottery I’d be making jewelry and glass etching. So many things to create.

Pitchpinepottery Still making! I’ve always wanted to try metal smithing and make jewelry.


Poteria_oficina_ceramica I would be making food!

Bdeterling @ioceramicarustica I agree! Specifically baking since it’s similar to making clay and firing kilns ?

Connie J Cakes probably


Reidthepotter Woodworking

KathrynBurnsClay Turning wood on the lathe.

Ebboren Carving wood, which would probably include some trips to the ER!?

LittleCharlieWheeler Leather or wood. Have to be tactile.

Measa C S carve wood :D


Marisol_blamey quizás bordaría alfombras! pero…. no es lo mismo! (Maybe I would embroider rugs! but it’s not the same)

Debra_lee2 Quilting!

Sandywithaq Back to the knitting needles!

GardenGateDesign Hooking more rugs now I split my time between the two and making beeswax candles . . .

Monstriss Knitting

Dawn I Crotchet

Marg F textiles


Maxschreifels Blow glass like a man lol

Jean_faith_vanderheyden Soap stone carving and or stain glass making.

Anni_s_t Blowing glass..

Madeleinevinkceramics Definitly glass blowing!


Yopanama I would be doing photography

Mike W Photography.

Clay_lady I’d have more time to practice piano and work on photography.


Desoet_ceramics Nice question ? anyway i would be sculpting. Doesn’t matter from what material ☺

Syrihee.ceramics Architecture probably :/ and painting

Bluee_pottery Rock climbing

Sudima Drawing

Olisny Printmaking! I had a fund saving up for an etching press I instead used to buy my kiln and wheel. ?

Nancybloklandpottery The garden would be the next best thing

Jojo.hare I’d still be making candles ?

KaraMorrisPottery Writing books ?

Suits._p architecture

AmyThomasCeramics Midwifery ?

KaroArtCeramics I’d be an illustrator, that’s my plan for when my body fails me

Susan H D Mosaics

Another_day_wiser I was a music performance major in college until I switched to ceramics, so probably that ?

Multiple Things

Paulinepotspottery Still creating – maybe get back into macrame or painting or baking – just need to keep those creative juices flowing ?

Littlepotteryshop Gardening, cooking, sewing… all things I do as hobbies anyway ?I couldn’t live without my creative outlets! To make money though I might be a professional organizer.

Apicio72 Only drawing and cooking. And eating? of course!

Gia_mcc Reading, cooking and dancing like no one is looking at me!

Thistle_dew_nicely_ceramics Before clay I did tole painting, painted saws, painted canvases. Made jewelry, sewed lap quilts, paper crafts. I did lots of craft type stuff.

Ingridj1957 I’ve tried and loved making silver jewellery in the past. If I had a lathe I’d do woodturning and make bowls again. ❤️

Lauren_johnson_studio I make ceramics and I also do woodblock carving and abstract painting. It’s a lot of money and work to have a clay studio so I get it in when I can take a class.

Beemajabee Stamp carving, fountain pen sketches, water color, maybe go back to quilting.

Marisepu Painting, doing mosaics, writing…things I used to do before I fell in love with Clay !!

Laurel F My back up plan is water color, drawing, quilting. But if clay didn’t exist, we wouldn’t be here. There wouldn’t be an earth.

Lorna B I would have finished the brick paving a long time ago and finished more paintings done more mosaics and the garden would have fewer weeds There is nothing quite like clay ??

Kim W Paint, knit, glass work … gotta make something!

Just Make Something

Lucyfagella Make something else…#makersgonnamake.

Sandysunpottery Finding another medium! When you have this internal need to create art, it doesn’t go away if you don’t have your favorite medium at hand ?

Annelie57 Any other creative art

Amymskemp Creating something…food, drawing, painting, fibers, and babies❤️

Maria S A sad thought , but pray God would put another desire in my heart to creat. Have a blessed day. From this Cotton Pickin’ Potter from Beautiful Beaufort SC by the Bay.

Find It / Invent It

Some of you are not giving up hope.

Bobbie141 Wait till it returned …or go and find me some ?

Earthartam Inventing clay

Expiredin2012 Invent clay

Bateendje Invent it ?

Tanya K I would be inventing clay!!!!!!

Mental State

Some of us sound like we would be in rough shape without clay.

Hnilebo Go mental!

Finbarness Probaly be dying I coulndnt live without pottery

TeenaMartinArt Insane asylum

Jane N Would be mentally in rough shape

Estrovan Crying ?

Pirkitta P Perish the thought! ?

Libbi H ???

Other Job

It was interesting to hear about how some mentioned other occupations.

Mariekennedypottery Maybe still sitting in a cubicle and collecting craft hobbies waiting until something grabbed me and wouldn’t let go… Like clay did.

2frogsstudio Getting a job that makes money… lol

KaraleighCeramics I’d probably still be working in visual merchandising & my soul would be searching for something it didn’t know it needed. Thank God for pottery!!

Kali D G Still be in advertising and marketing…. and suffering an ulcer…..

Robinhoodgrl I would probably still work in fashion; but unhappier. I would still paint, draw and all the rest though

Deeper Meanings

And some responses just required some extra thought from me.

Mils0nrisas I’d have a life! ?

At first I wasn’t sure about this response. But I don’t think Milsonrisas means that we don’t have a life if we work with clay. At least not in a negative way. But more that clay just consumes us and some of us devote our entire lives to it.

Ceramica_agostini I’d have an easier life with less failure but also with less excitement and experience ??

This was an interesting response. I suppose if I didn’t work with clay my life would be a little easier in some aspects. I would have a lot more free time. I wouldn’t have a pile of pots that suffer from glaze faults, cracks, or that are just mediocre or terrible.

Ben.fields If clay didn’t exist, we wouldn’t exist.

I think this response is valid on multiple levels and we could really dive deep. But we’ll save that for another time.

So that’s it. Thanks to everyone for taking the time to respond. Some of these thoughts got me thinking. I like how so many people have other interests and skills. I would be interested to know how your other interests impact your work with clay. And I know for myself, I like to pursue some of these other interests along with clay. I know everyone is different, so do you think it would be better for YOU to try and split your time between interests? Or are you more of a person that lets one thing consume you?

I know that I’m a little bit of both sometimes. I think of it as creative ADD. I get really into one thing for a while and put all my effort and thoughts into it. Then I plateau, or feel like I’ve accomplished what I want, or something else comes along. Then I get consumed by this new thing for a while. Usually I return to the original thing at some point but usually at more of a sustainable level. As new things come and go I just have to decide what I want to keep pursuing and what I want to take a break from or put on the “someday” shelf. Back in college I focused on oil painting and ceramics for my two senior projects. We lived in a tiny apartment after college so I painted. Then when we bought our own place I had room for the wheel. I tried to do both but eventually I decided that I needed to focus on one thing. Clay won. But all my painting stuff is packed up into a tub on a shelf just in case SOMEDAY I want, or need, to get it back out.

That doesn’t mean I’m actually focusing on one thing though! Sometimes I like to take photos, sometimes I just like to use computers to design stuff. Quite often, it’s clay.

It seemed like a major theme in all the responses was that if we weren’t working with clay we would be creating something else. I can relate to that. There is something that drives me to create. It doesn’t really matter what medium. I just need to make something. Maybe to know that I exist? Maybe to let other people know I exist? Maybe it’s just the chemicals in my body? I know that after I create something, especially if it turns out pretty well, I feel accomplished and I want to make more stuff.

Another thing that makes ME happy is that many of the responses seemed to come from people who are happy. We found clay. And that is what makes us happy. We don’t have to keep wandering in the wilderness. Some people don’t even have to keep working at a job that isn’t their dream job. Even though making pots is hard work, and it doesn’t provide big paychecks like some other jobs, it is what some of us were born to do. I’m glad I can be a part of a community like that. So thank you all.

And before we get to the last reminder about the t-shirt giveaway I have some year end promotional propaganda. Errr, opportunities.

The biggest announcement is that I’m offering the first official course at Expert Clay which will begin December 31st. The course is called 2019, Your Best Pottery Year and I’ve set it up so we can work together to set, plan, and achieve our goals for the new year. I’m calling it a course, but I hope it ends up being more of a team project. This year it is completely free. We all know that the ceramics community is amazing and we can do awesome things when we work together. Just listen to the MudTalk Podcast as one example. I hope this course will let us help each other through critique, accountability, and encouragement. I know it won’t be for everyone, some of you are already goal achieving superheroes. But you are still welcome to join and offer advice or help. It is set up with 4 weeks of content to get our year off to a great start but the class doesn’t actually end until the end of 2019… Or until you achieve your goals for the year! The course content can be finished at your own pace at any time really but there will be opportunities for discussion which may be better if you are working at the same pace as everyone else. So if you are interested in making 2019 your best pottery year, sign up at https://expertclay.com/2019/. Again the official starting date is December 31st but you can sign up for free and get started now. Even if you hear this much later you can join in and work at your own pace.

After I get this course going I hope to offer some more courses, some free, some paid. I have been working on a course for complete beginners as an introduction to start making pottery. I also have some ideas about sharing some techniques that I use myself. And of course, I’m always looking for other people to share what they know whether it be in video format or slides or articles or podcasts or whatever way you are most comfortable. Get in touch if you want to share something at Expert Clay.

As for this podcast, I plan to keep going without major changes. My goal for 2019 is 20 new episodes. I have been considering the idea of an additional podcast. More of me just sharing some opinions on certain topics. And eventually I’d like to do a podcast with an interview format. But I’ll probably just stick to the MudTalk Podcast for 2019.

The Expert Clay Blog is off to a solid start. There are some quality articles covering topics like throwing taller, pricing your pots, and managing your time. I hope to add some more throughout 2019 and share some videos of myself and other potters working and showing off their techniques.

There are a lot of cool things planned. If you want to be notified of some of these opportunities you can join the email list at expertclay.com.

But now, let’s get to the fun part. Someone will get to choose a free t-shirt from potteryshirts.com. All you have to do is fill out a survey or share a comment. Do both for two entries. And even after the last reminder, you still have a pretty good chance to win, especially if you get two entries. The last day to enter is December 31st. So get it done! And tell others to listen to the podcast so they can enter too. To get all the details and see how to enter you can go to expertclay.com/giveaway.

As always, thanks so much for downloading and listening and sharing. After a quick look at the stats before I started recording, we have had over 15,000 downloads in 2018. That is amazing to me. Thank you all so much.

As we start the new year we will have episode 20 of the MudTalk podcast. It will be a discussion about form vs. function. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and get to spend time with loved ones and take care of yourself. Until 2019, rejoice that we have clay and stay muddy.


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