One wall of our home is covered entirely by a bookcase, and on that bookcase lives every piece of pottery I have ever created. I worked in ceramics from 2008-2013 and during that time I took classes, spent countless hours in the studio and made dozens of pieces. When the ceramics studio I belonged to closed, my ceramics career ended with it.
It is very unlikely I will ever work in ceramics again, for many reasons, so this collection against our wall is the entirety of the ceramics I will produce in my life. That isn’t good or bad, happy or sad, it just is. I’m proud of many of those pieces, especially the very last one I made. It’s a double walled vase, made in two parts and it is (almost) perfect. A great cornerstone to a bridge I built over a long period of my life.
I am a maker. I love to make things and the process of making is one of the most important ingredients for me to be happy. I love to draw, to build, to design and to code. I always have at least one project in progress at any given time, something that is in the process of being made but not done yet.
I’m lucky enough to have a wonderful family, including an incredible wife and two amazing kids. As I look at them, and think about how I’m getting older, I wonder about my last project. The one project that I’ll never finish because I’ll be gone before I have a chance to finish it. While I hope to live a long time, I also hope that I am making for a long time. At some point, I will start a project and never finish it.
Of course, I will be the only one who never knows which project will be my last. I could be starting my last, unfinished project at any time. I could be working on it right now.
This too is neither good nor bad, not happy nor sad. It just is. Life is not forever and there is a finite amount that I can make in my life. You are not defined by what you leave behind, but I do like the idea that I will have something to leave behind when I’m gone.
The one thing I do hope is that when I am gone, Beth, Alexis or Connor (or all of them) will finish my unfinished project. Maybe my grandkids can help too. Having my family finish my last project for me strikes me as the best way to end a career spent making things. Whatever it is, I hope it will mean as much to them as it already means to me.
The perfect cornerstone in a bridge I spend my entire life building. The thought makes me smile.