The Little Yellow Teapot

It’s Spring 1975 and my friend Jorgeline has asked me to go on a short trip with her.  I’d been living in Grenoble, France for almost two years and the year before had met Jorgeline.  She was mysterious about the trip she proposed and would only tell me it would be exciting.  Perhaps this is the trip that has inspired my love of roadtrips!

Jorgeline and I drove quite a distance from Grenoble.  We wound down mountainsides in Provence and came to a lovely lop-sided home and pottery studio.  Inside was a potter throwing at his wheel ~ a teapot body, I can close my eyes and see his hands with the liquid brown clay sliding through them.  Jorgeline talked with the potter, I stared . . . I could not get past just watching the clay being formed.

When I came to myself I asked the potter several questions ~ even asking if I could buy the piece he was making on the wheel.  His quiet laugh still haunts me because as he laughed he raised his eyebrows and said “Come back in six months.  I throw my pieces and fire two times each year.”

Walking around his studio, weaving in and out of the shelves, breathing in the scent of his work I found a bright yellow teapot.  My bright yellow teapot is the center of our pottery collection.  Barbara_Teaching_Class_33100127_stdI can still see this potters hands throwing ~ I can still smell the earthy calm of his studio.  I do not know his name, I’ve lost touch with Jorgeline but I will always treasure this experience, this memory that inspired me to become a potter.

A simple request to go on a short trip was the inspiration for my life in clay.  Thank you Jorgeline, thank you nameless potter in Vallauris.  Life is richer, fuller . . . there are so many possibilities with clay!


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