This Potter's Hands & Clay piece is dedicated to Jim Craft, Artist & PBA Professor. Mr. Craft was the instructor for both of (and my only) 2 art classes as a college student: Drawing 1 and Painting 1. Being a theatre major I had many opportunities to be the head scenic painter in our shows, but I didn't actually get around to dabbling in any art department classes until my junior year at PBA. I had no idea at the time that I would want to pursue art or that pursuing art was even possible for me, since I had so little experience. God really used Professor Craft to cultivate my natural talent and push me to improve dramatically. Mr. Craft is a visual artist so he never over-talked. ( Speaking of, I think one thing that unnerved me most about art classes was how quiet they were. Imagine going from improv class where we had to play crying toddlers, screaming mothers and giggling teenagers to a class filled with VISUAL artists. The silence was definitely an adjustment.) Anyways, instead of over-talking, Craft would choose a concept or application he really wanted us to remember and he would take this phrase and repeat it over and over. Some of his favorite phrases were "Look more at the subject than at your paper, Look more at the subject than at your paper," "An ellipse is a continuous curve, An ellipse is a continuous curve," "Painters usually paint from light to dark, from light to dark" or "Painters usually paint from thin to thick, from thin to thick." Even as I paint and draw today, I catch my mind repeating these guiding phrases to myself!
One of the reasons why I chose a potter's scene to dedicate to Mr. Craft is because he happens to also be a great Potter. I spent hours one day in the art house last fall with my roommate Christal, desperately attempting to create one intact mug. After 3 hours of unsuccessful tries that made every muscles in my body in ache, I remember watching with amazement and disgust as Craft whipped up a beautiful, drinkable mug complete with design in 45 seconds. I painted the stage in mug-making where the Potter carefully pulls the clay up with his forefingers, starting with more pressure and easing the pressure as they move up and as the wheel spins. I don't remember what this stage is called. But this is the one I could never get past. (These are the times I comfort myself with the fact that I didn't graduate with an art degree!)
The second reason why I chose a potter's scene is because, as cliche as it sounds, just as a Potter with clay, Professor's spend their existences molding and shaping and pressing students into what they need to become. God does this too, with all humans, both professors and students. He is constantly working with us, shaping us into what he plans for us to become. Sometimes I imagine it is difficult to be the potter, when the clay seems uncooperative or unappreciative. I am glad he is able to rework us "shaping as what seems best to him." (Isaiah 18:4) I am grateful for a perfect Maker and for seasoned, caring professors to help shape me into the artistic person I am today.
Thanks Mr. Craft!