So many analogies, so little time. I'd rather play in the clay than write, but writing (as poorly as I may do it) is in the top ten things I like to do after playing in the clay!
As I walked in to the computer room to do a bit of work it struck me how similar pottery is to life in general.
I had just finished a short article about keeping your mind in tune. According to the data in the article, doing things outside the norm, breaking your routine and learning keeps brain cells in tune and increases brain power. As we get older our minds may slow a bit, but we can actually add brain cells by discovering new things, getting outside our comfort zone (as in, break that boring routine you're in!).
Working with clay is perfect for stretching the mind and adding those new cells. If you started today with the idea you were going to never, ever do the same thing twice with clay you could easily succeed.
Each clay body reacts differently. They fire at different temperatures, are any number of colors and they all have differing properties. Some are great for hand building, some for raku, some for sculpting. Some are perfect for outdoor use, some are so delicate they need to be kept in a glass container for protection.
A person could spend a lifetime just learning the properties of the various clays. If you happened to tire of the available colors of clay you could jump over and start learning how to add components to marble, colorize or otherwise change the clay.
Then there are glazes. Again, another entire lifetime of learning if you had the mind for it.
Those are the basics. When you toss in some imagination it's a wild day any time you're in the studio!
Playing in the clay is a great way to stretch the mind and keep those brain cells growing! The article suggested little things like holding your toothbrush with the hand you don't normally use, or going shopping in a new grocery store. Can't knock the suggestions, but it seems to me that attempting something new with a block of clay is so much more fun. I'd bet an MRI of a clay playing babe's brain would show much higher brain cell creation than a toothbrush hand switching babe (or dude ;-).