It has been a rare treat to have an entire week to connect and make memories with just one of my five children. The last time Grace and I had this much uninterrupted bonding was 18 years ago in the days leading up to Molly’s birth. It has been a rare gift, one that I will probably never have again, so we are making the most of it and are filling our memory banks with a bundle of special experiences.
Our next adventure was to Kolor-N-Kiln, a paint your own pottery studio at Robinson Mall, that I discovered when we were there for the Sign-A-Thon in May. I was thrilled to stumble across this creative gem after losing our favorite “paint your own pottery” shop in Cranberry. When the older kids were young we frequented that studio often, enjoying the experience of creating permanent and treasured works of art with Grace, Molly and Rusty. We were all disappointed when it went out of business, so when I discovered Kolor-N-Kiln I knew it must be one of our girls’ week activities.
Grace and I arrived at the mall early.
We were greeted by a sweet gal who walked us through the creative process…
Step 1: Choose your pottery piece. There were dozens of options including mugs, plates, piggy banks, cookie jars, etc.
Grace decided on a vase with the thought being that it could be used and enjoyed in her room now but then also be used for decades to come in her future homes.
I decided on a butter dish, having recently lost mine to an enthusiastic and energetic “dish washer.”
Once we had picked our pieces and paid for them it was time for the next step.
Step 2: Wipe down the pottery with wet sponges, removing all dust.
Step 3: Pick out you paint colors. This was by far the most challenging step as the choices were abundant and the colors were all beautiful. Grace and I both finally settled on Jungle Gems; paints that contained metallic flecks that burst into spots of color in the heat of the kiln, creating a mosaic look.
Step 4: Begin painting.
The interesting thing about the paint Grace and I both chose is that what you paint on your piece looks nothing like what the finished product will be. Gracie’s chalky and grainy green paint will transform into a marbled jade in the heat of the kiln. My dark grey paint will become a mosaic masterpiece of creams, browns and robin egg blue when exposed to the intense temperatures of the kiln. As a result there is a certain level of faith needed as you continue painting what seems a mess, trusting that the mess before you will transform into something beautiful when exposed to heat.
I couldn’t help but take note of how much the process resembles our own mortal journey. Here we stand, unfinished and raw works of art. Messy and grainy, certainly not “mantle worthy.” But if we trust the potter and submit to His vision, despite the fact that the process seems messy and grainy, His process will transform us. He will take that mess and create a masterpiece.
But to do so heat is always needed.
It is within the intense fire of the kiln that we, the clay, are strengthened.
It is within the intensity of the kiln that the mess transforms into something beautiful.
That sort of transformation never takes place in the cool, comfortable seasons of our life…
Only in the seasons of fiery testing.
As Grace and I finished our projects and stepped away from the finished mess,
Surrendering our finished works to the master of the kiln,
Trusting that the added heat might turn our mess beautiful,
It was a powerful and poignant reminder of the greater purpose of each of our “kiln seasons” of life. They are hard seasons to live through, and we are grateful when the furnace cools, but no season of life is:
Than the “kiln seasons” of mortality…
When we humbly submit and surrender our mess to Him and let Him transform the broken into the beautiful.
The finished projects: