The process of creating this book has been such a great experience. In the summer of 2016, I had just sent Greg Holmes the most current version of my story. Although he had experience with pottery from his years of art school, he recommended that I go to a pottery studio and meet with an actual potter. This way I could ask questions and get some feedback from a technical standpoint. He connected me with Conor Muldoon, a potter whom he had worked with on some other projects. I sent the story to Conor, and he was so kind to share some really great feedback. This was also the first time someone who didn’t know me or my personal life story had read it. That’s a little scary: to put yourself out there and ask for criticism on something so personal from someone who knows nothing about you. After reading that early version of “Hope’s Purpose,” he told me he even started to tear up a little bit.
“… I tried to let God gather the pieces of my own hope and put me back together.”
Conor was working closely with another potter here in the Dallas, Texas, area who had his own studio. His name was Steve Sprinkle. What a great name, right?! Conor thought it’d be great for me to come meet with Steve and let him show me around his studio and answer questions for me. We tried all summer to connect for a studio visit, but we just couldn’t get our schedules together. I had also been trying to find out what my next step was in sending this to a publisher. I had not yet asked Greg to be my illustrator and honestly thought my story was complete. I was wondering why doors weren’t opening, and it felt like I was running against the wind. Then, in late August of 2016, when my seemingly perfect little life turned upside down, the story got set aside while I tried to let God gather the pieces of my own hope and put me back together.
A few months later, after God gave me the current ending to the story, I tried to get the story rewritten and started pursuing a forward motion with this book again. In January of 2017, I contacted Conor and Steve again, and we were able to quickly find a time for me to come visit the studio…
Conor was pretty busy that day, so we didn’t get to visit much in person; but being able to spend a couple hours with Steve was great. From the moment I met him, he was so kind. He gave me a tour of the studio and showed me a corporate order he was working on of what seemed like thousands of handmade coffee mugs. He was gracious enough to answer all my silly questions about everything from the process of creating a piece to what it would look like to try and repair. Surprise! There was a lot about time, patience, and not rushing things. This experience was so helpful in the continued shaping of my story. One thing I remember him saying to me is something to the effect of that I didn’t need to include a lot of technical details. Some things might not be reality from a technical standpoint, but also, in reality, pottery doesn’t talk. It’s a story, and you can leave plenty to the imagination. This was a great initial introduction to the world of pottery.