Wednesday, April 28, 2010


While his brother and cousins were at school, I took my youngest grandson, M, to a local children's museum which was holding an Art Fair. He was completely fascinated by the static electricity ball. He revelled in painting rocks and paper and small pieces of wood. He made a mask from paper plates and construction paper and feathers. He tried his small hands at pottery ... shaping lumpen clay into mysterious blobs. He traced the outline of his hand, joining the dozens of other such images on a large mural to be placed in city hall somewhere.

We arrived home paint and clay splattered, clutching an armful of little treasures. M held carefully in his hands two items which seemed to hold a particular enjoyment for him. One, a small piece of grey pottery he had worked on diligently for about a half-hour, shaping it to some exact requirements known only to himself. He proudly placed this on my kitchen counter.

"It's an ash tray for Mum", he said.

"She will like it very much", I said, gently.

The other object was a rock he had painted. This he turned over and over in his hand, obviously enjoying both the feel and look of it.

"It feels pretty", he said.

I know just what he means. I feel the same way when I touch a piece of driftwood. I find so much to enchant in the shape, the feel. Each piece invites a distinct consideration. There are gnarled limbs, intricate knots and twisted roots, as well as the milled remnants of logging and fishing, all made astonishing by their sea-change.

Humanity's childhood shares with all created things the primal dreams and desires of embodiment. I think all things have this form of affinity. Such is the small collection of objects nestling on a four year old boy's bedside table.


  1. "It feels pretty". This comment sums up a child's clear vision of the world around them. Innocent and uncluttered. These are the voices of hope for all of us.

    A lovely post.

  2. I remember making ashtrays for my mom, and my daughters making ashtrays for me (even though neither Linda or I smoke).

    Wonderful to know the tradition is still going on.

  3. Martin: I agree. Innocent, uncluttered vision ... children are our hope.

    Barry: Unfortunately, my grandson's mother does smoke, but that time of unfettered joy in his creation wasn't the right time to give him even a gentle lesson on the perils of smoking.

  4. Love the ashtray! Made with such love. And I know what it means by, "It feels pretty." That's the way I feel about pottery. I have to feel it.