I was scheduled to meet the ceramic artist Beth Bolgla in my home several months ago. Unfortunately, I was in my robe, sitting on the back porch, when she arrived because I forgot she was coming. When my husband told me Beth was here, I panicked. Our house is designed so that there is no way to run past our front hall, where she was standing, so I could change. So I greeted her in a lime green fleece robe and pajamas with a tropical print. At least everything matched.
If Beth had an opinion about this, you’d never know. There wasn’t a hint of judgement on her face. I realized later that she wasn’t just being polite. To her the robe was a garment, not an item of clothing with a designated role. As we talked on my couch, I became more and more fascinated by Beth’s vision. Her perspective on things was so pure, and she expressed her curiosity without hesitation. Beth told me about her eyes weakening in middle age as if it were a gift, sharing how she could see things from a new perspective. It wasn’t gratitude; she was curious and looking forward to new opportunities to see things differently.
As I study Beth’s work, I grow more in love with her ceramics. The subtle complexity of each piece, the range of styles in her pottery. I am grateful to know her because she represents how we need to be in the world: people who are present, curious, and clear-eyed.
I enjoy Beth’s ceramics because they welcome your eyes, both delighting and soothing you with their elegance and simplicity. Most of all, I love the memory of our first meeting in my robe. She showed me how rich your life can be when your vision is pure.