In May 2016 I co-chaired a fundraiser for an art guild that I have been immersed in for many years. We hosted a raku night. My friend and co-host, David L Bradley, made about 40 pieces of pottery that guests would glaze and fire. As co-host I waited until the end of the night and picked one of the few remaining pieces to glaze. An unassuming platter with a spiral emanating from its center and its edges curled up on either side. It reminded me of me in in its quiet humility. I was disappointed to see that one of the two casualties that night was my little platter. I brought it home and promptly placed it in the garbage pail in my studio. There it sat, with garbage tossed on top of it until the pail was full. Although I emptied the pail, I could not bring myself to discard the broken plate. Once again, it lay at the bottom of the pail. Exposed. Buried. Salvaged. Buried under rubbish again. So the cycle continued until one day I rescued it. I sat with it and really looked at it. And yes, there broken in half, once more reminding me of me.
The truth is, this little platter was not intended to be as ordinary as a cheese tray or cookie dish. But it had to be cracked in half to become whole. It required time. It had to be Seen. Examined. Transformed. Much like my little platter, my life has taken on a new shape with pages yet to be filled. I don’t look at myself, or this little platter, as broken or somehow less than whole. I see the parts as aspects of self that when integrated, or considered in a new way, become something greater than what had been imagined.
Our lives cannot transform without examination and commitment to change. Although we might try to bury and hide them, at some point we have to look at the shards of our lives from a perspective of love and compassion. From that vantage point we can decide what we discard, what we keep and then we transform.
Cracked Whole a collaboration by Tess Mosko Scherer and David L Bradley