By Sarah Wells Rolland
On any given day at The Village Potters you will find potters working hard at their craft and pushing their creative edge and skills to the limit. If you look more closely you will see more, so much more.
Julia Mann joined the community at The Village Potters in our Independent Study and Mentoring program to be a part of a community of creative collaboration and sharing. She arrived already an expert in skill, with a fully developed body of work, and a 30 year legacy as a potter. What she wanted was connection, relationship and new ideas. What she brings is so much more! She is by her very nature, a mentor.
The teacher-student relationship is a timeless tradition in all cultures. In our lifetime, we have many teachers. At The Village Potters, when that relationship moves to a deeper, more trusted level, where dreams and plans are shared and the teacher is invested in the success of the student relationally, we call that mentoring. Building a mentoring relationship is an investment that can last a lifetime. It takes time, and it takes trust.
Wikipedia defines Mentorship as a relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. The mentor may be older or younger than the person being mentored, but she or he must have a certain area of expertise.
So Julia, who came to be fully a part of our community, helps and guides less experienced potters in a gentle, relational way that is valued by everyone in our Village. On any given day, when an aspiring potter is working with clay, perhaps making a lidded vessel with a goal that it not only fits but also is an integrated part of the design of the piece, you might find Julia lending a tip or showing a technique that sheds new insight on how to approach the challenge. It matters to her that her studio mate accomplishes their goal. That they make a wonderful pot. She does this because it is who she is. She is invested. She cares. She is a mentor!
Thank you, Julia, not only for choosing to be a part of this wonderful creative community, but for making it even richer by being you!