IMAGO – What got you interested in doing pottery? or How did you get started?
SUE – I came from a background in which I was encouraged to pursue and learn all kinds of handwork. As a young person I mostly engaged in fibre arts. Later as a mother of our first child I saw an advert for a Mother and toddler pottery course and so I signed up. I soon become hooked on the medium and fascinated by the process.
IMAGO – In the making of pottery you have to engage with the clay/the material in a most direct way. Could you say something about what that experience is like for you.
SUE – I love the plasticity of clay and the way it takes on the texture of anything it touches. Working on the wheel is a very engaging activity in which the clay can feel more like it has a life of its own and needs a firm hand to coax it into the shape I wish for. In working with clay one works against time as the clay dries and hardens. The whole process from soft pliable clay to glazing and firing the completed project fascinates me. I love the change the fire makes to the pieces. The challenging aspect of clay is that one must have a vision that sees beyond the soft clay and the initial moves to the final product.
IMAGO – Could you comment on why it is important to you to see the ordinary “transformed into the beautiful”?
SUE – We are surrounded, in our everyday lives,by many objects both natural and human-made. In the natural world I am often surprised at how beautiful the ordinary is. God took great care in each part of his design, he made the ordinary beautiful. Even though we need practical items for everyday food use, it seems to me that each cup or bowl or plate, ordinary items that we use regularly, can be made with care and be beautiful as well as functional.
IMAGO – You mention how you are moved by the pottery poems in the Hebrew scriptures and the New Testament…could you comment on the links you see between divine and human creativity?
SUE – I am inspired by God’s attention to detail in His creativity. His choice of colour combinations and selection of parts to make up the whole, especially seen in animals, can be daring or calming, stimulating or soothing.
As I create I love to produce items with that same diversity. I also love the non-uniform way God created. As humans we all share the same basic parts (anatomy) but each of us is unique. Whilst working in clay I experienced some of the biblically expressed relationship of the potter to the clay, the maker to the made and appreciate the gentleness and care of this tactile process. I have learnt to appreciate how in the process of producing pots great strength is often needed and at other times a delicate touch.
(From an Interview with Sue Lyon – for imago Newsletter Volume 7-2)