Speech 2 – Clay Speech

For the life of me, I couldn’t think of a decent title.

Who among us has not seen the movie, Ghost?  I still often forget that I am now of the age where my references can fall into the generational chasm so please just bear with me for a moment.  For those of you who have, the movie has several great moments and I’ll bet at least a couple of you immediately summoned the same moment about which I am going to speak.

It was intimate, smooth, and shapely.  It was exhilarating yet enchanting, artistic yet technical.  Two people, hands intertwined, passionately making something amazing.  Yes, it’s THAT scene.  The one where they show us how to make a clay vase.

OK.  For those of you who have never seen the movie I am going to ask that you snap back and rejoin us.  *wait for 3 seconds*

Great.  Now I am going to mute all your lines.  We’re going to practice a brief visualization exercise, and I’d like for all of you to please close your eyes for 10 seconds, and remain silent.

Sitting before you is a lump of wet clay, lying upon a potter’s wheel.  To the right, is a pail of water.  Next to the pail is the wheel’s pedal.  You begin grasping palmfuls of water and let it cascade through your fingers, drenching the clay.  The clay becomes shiny and slick.  With your foot, you exert the slightest amount of pressure on the pedal.  It works in the same fashion as a car’s accelerator so you needn’t press hard.  The mound of dewy clay lying before you begins to spend.  You plunge both hands back into the water, then begin to work the clay. 

The finality of the object you wish to create has yet to form, thus much like the clay itself, your mind is malleable.  One hand is your shaping tool while the other both helps to guide and support the clay.  Your hands, your foot, your mind, and the clay share a symbiotic bond; each integral to the metamorphosis of the raw material which was set before you.  Summoning your experience, skill, and intuition you continue working the clay, plunging your hands back into the water periodically to keep them from hindering the genesis of your creation. Spend a few seconds now, and shape the clay  into its final form.

*pause for 10 seconds*

When you open your eyes, please share what you created by giving a brief description in the chat window.

*60 seconds of sharing*

In my last speech, I spoke of the importance of empathy in helping us reach an understanding of each other, even in moments where our viewpoints may differ drastically.  You all began the visualization with the same materials, yet formed your own creations.  While some may have formed the same object, I am willing to bet that none are in the exact same style. 

Our psyches are the clay.  Beginning our lives raw, unformed, and easily shaped.  The centrifugal force of spinning and evaporation of water seek to dry this clay, robbing it of its ability to maintain its malleability.  These are the pressures and forces we work either with or against on a daily basis.  We wet our hands so that we may continue to work the clay or control the speed of the wheel with our foot, but in order to continue creating we cannot altogether stop these forces.  Stopping leaves the clay, our psyche, hardened and protective against these forces, but also unable to improve upon that which we’ve already crafted. 

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