Paulus was talking to another man, Peter Adams, at the outdoor bar on our first day there. We began to talk and I learned that he was a former potter. I took a chance that he might know of a book that I had read as an undergrad, whose title I couldn’t remember, a book that inspired me to concentrate in ceramics and to make many of the choices that I made in my early 20’s. So I described it to him, and he looked at me and said, “I wrote that book, Finding One’s Way with Clay.” To this day I get chills up and down my spine when I remember this moment.
Over the past twelve years, I’ve had the opportunity to take a class with Paulus, visit with him, and exchange cards. And these small moments of time with him have influenced my own teaching as well as how I want to be in the world. My past two weeks at Penland allowed me to see him a few times, to be reminded of how I want to be as a teacher–encouraging, gentle, inspiring and expansive.
Paulus is an inspiring teacher, someone who finds the right words to help the creative soul find it’s way in the world. One of his ways of encouragement is to invite people to find their own way of hanging out in their journal, be it doodling, writing, realistic sketching, collaging, whatever it is. This past week, he talked a lot about seeing. To sit with whatever you are looking at and let it come to you, to be quiet, and turn off the computers and smarty-pants phones and let it come to you.
He also asked us this question, “what story has infected you?” And he means this as what stories do you believe about yourself that may need to be discarded and other stories that could be highlighted. I keep coming back to this question in myself, as I go forward on my own journey of trying to be the best person, teacher, mentor, lover, friend, sister, daughter I can be.
What stories have infected you? How do you hang out in your journal, sketchbook that feels really good to you? Would love to know…