Monday, August 31, 2009

First Impressions

[Thoughts I jotted down when I first arrived] 'I padded softly across my room to the sun roof, my swollen travelers feet felt quite nice on the cool terra cotta tile. I am alone for the first time. Seth and I have been together for a few hours but he just sent me upstairs to unpack while he "plays host" and cooks dinner. My room is white washed and sparse. There is one sky blue wall behind the wooden French-made bed and a set of blue shutters off the the side. These lead to the sun roof and are always open. There is a "screen" of plastic coils hanging in the doorway; they flutter in the breeze and keep bugs out ... or so they say.'

I am in the remote mountain region just off the coast of the Mediterranean. The land, people, trees, shrubs, flowers, and buildings are all at once moving and still, fresh and old, full of color and sepia toned. It feels like an old loved leather chair, comfortable, full of stories, and regal in some way. I imagine my impressions of Spain are rather different from others since I was swept away to the mountains right away.

Seth Cardew is very proper (imagine 1940's London!), but friendly all the same. His pottery is just a short walk down a hill or down stairs, which ever way you want to take.

The pottery is rustic to say the least. The floor is dirt and the walls are the same white washed simplicity found in my room. I do have some slave labor to do before I can throw. I wedged a great amount of clay the other day, moistening it to ready it for throwing. I have more of that to do tomorrow. Seth has a pretty free approach compared to some potters. He doesn't set down and make me throw 50 of one shape until I can do it in my sleep but he does have a critical eye. He won't smash pots because he says that I must use them to learn other steps as well, such as trimming, decorating, etc.

I can't wait to share more about some of the philosophy of pots I've heard from Seth and other tid bits. But I'll give them to you in small doses. All at once and you might feel like you've had your head stuffed, like I do.

Or, even worse, you might not read.


  1. Sarah, I love your post about your first few days. The pictures are stunning. What a challenge and what a privilege to be there. M

  2. Sarah,

    I'm so thrilled for you...just scrolling through all the pictures has been so much fun. I was reading about Seth's thoughts on what makes a piece of pottery useful to a customer. There is one mug, in particular, that your mother made for us that both Ron and I love. It feels so good in my hand. I'm so happy for you to be learning and experiencing so much. And what a beautiful natural place to be!