So Many Pots – So Little Space

14 Sep

by Andrea Kelton

Terry and I dragged three huge Rubbermaid containers out of Julie’s basement.  These storage chests were crammed full of my pots.  The heavy remains of my 20 plus year ceramics career.

I started Kids & Clay in 1987.  It grew to three store fronts on Damen Avenue.  All filled with shelves of pots, tools, equipment and memories.  When I closed in 2003, my equipment went to my stepdaughter’s house in Michigan.  I gave away pots.  Filled my one-bedroom apartment with my favorites.   And packed every inch of the containers.  My building had no storage, so Julie offered me a corner in her storage space.  

Now Julie’s moving.  My boxes can’t stay.  I could have a yard sale.  Or take the pots to a thrift store.  But I don’t drive.  Time is limited.  I could move them to another friend’s basement.  But that’s only postponing the inevitable.  I haven’t seen these pots in nine years.  They gotta go.  

Terry, a former student of mine at Literacy Chicago, recently down-sized to a studio apartment.  She’s an expert in the paring down process.  Terry helped me drag the containers outside Julie’s apartment.  We tore off newspaper and unwound yards of dry cleaning plastic.  I admired each unwrapped treasure.  Its shape, glaze and design.  I relived the joy of creating out of mud.  Thought a moment.   Then decided their fate.  To my apartment…into the alley for scavengers…or, the dumpster.  The purge took an hour.

We pushed two grocery carts full of pottery back to my apartment.  I continued the process with the stored pots in my pantry.  Some stayed.  Others made their way to the alley.

When we finished, I felt a little tired, but not sad.  I still have a generous collection-a diverse representation of my work.

And I’m on a roll.  Next purge-that bedroom closet full of audio cassettes.  They’re light enough to make their way to the thrift store.

Andrea Kelton was diagnosed with uveitis in 1974.  She opened an art school “Kids & Clay” in 1987, where she taught hand building and wheel throwing to Chicago children and adults. 

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