El alma

del mundo.

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THE potter.

He breaks, mixes, dilutes, joins, kneads, flattens, caresses, penetrates, presses, turns, works, paints, engraves... He cooks. Clay in his hands is a being with a life of its own that he handles as he wishes. A piece of sticky mud bathed in stagnant waters to which he returns the primary purity, the original utility. The earth and liquid form a slime that remains at first between the fingers and which he then softly slides along his palm to the wheel, letting the wood become dyed the colour of blood. This is the moment when force acts to give it the required form. It is the moment to press it between the index finger and the thumb to remove the excess. The opportunity to use a string to decapitate it or outline it while it slides against the skin. It has the right texture, the appropriate temperature, the perfect touch. His hands, furthermore, are warm, but only enough so that the clay doesn’t stick but rather slides polishing itself against the flesh, becoming alive.

Work has just begun but this is how everything begins and it is good that the Nile continues holding mud to knead. Mud that produces hard and resistant pieces such as those found in the desert in Saqqara, which sprout from the ground revealing a piece of their history: amphorae, such as those that held water and oil; troughs such as those that contained grain and bread; cups such as those that served beer and still maintain the Egyptian blue on the surface mixed with the colour of the desert. Lids and tagines, now the hiding place of tiny Horuses that return surprised by a gust of air they use to rise up. There is a need for this clay that continues to take on the form that the potter with his hands wishes to give.

The earth needs someone to master it, to care for it, to dampen it. It needs strong hands to fold it and other delicate ones to help it stretch and grow without breaking. Strength and work and patience will also be needed so that it may dry before being cooked; and the certainty that it is this piece and not another that is desired. Afterwards, pressure, the appropriate heat, the correct technique will turn it into a unique piece, impossible to crack. It will thus be found four thousand years later by those who walk among the sands of its desert, those who drink from its civilisation and decide to undertake a new work that survives the earlier one and continues to learn from its wisdom and its errors. A World Mother that continues breastfeeding all of her children.

by Nuria tesón