Be Led by the Light of Joy

Blog by Sr. Anne Lythgoe, shown in her pottery studio




Recently, my direction in glazing pots has been moving towards underglaze surface decoration: reds, blues, purple, black, greens, and a yellow that’s got a hint of orange.





More notably, I have discovered these marvelous little birds that I create that I think I must have seen somewhere — because I don’t think it’s an original idea. Regardless, I like the whimsy, I like the spontaneity of drawing them and I see them as a simple way to bring joy to the beholder. They’re just plain fun. I have also explored stylized red poppies using thin black lines to help create the shape and it is so spontaneous for me — a welcomed shift away from feeling somewhat constrained by my glaze palette of commercial glazes that I used for a very long time. So I feel like I’m in a new moment.

My deepest desire is that my pots make a connection with another human being so that when someone is using a bowl or mug or pot of mine it becomes special for them, not because I made it, but because it holds meaning for them. The real source of joy for me is the meaning-making in making art. So when Sarah, my mentor, and I talked about these cute little bird mugs, I was mildly embarrassed by them because I thought they were just fun and not to be taken too seriously. Much to my surprise Sarah saw something different than what I saw in them and I think that’s what meaning is all about — it depends on what the other person sees.

“Do you want to know what I see?” Sarah said. “I see diversity, community, and they are intergenerational.”

Wow! And I was worried people would not take my work seriously. Like most serious potters, I put so much attention and time and love into my pots that it is important to me they be valued by the people who ultimately own them. Not speaking even about monetary value, but the value of excellent pots, worthwhile objects that bring joy, that connect one human being to another.

What strikes me the most in this Advent/Christmas Season — and having just celebrated Gaudete Sunday when the pink candle is lit–that the moral of this story today is: pursue what brings you joy. Throughout this Advent/Christmas season, given all that we have been through the last two years of pandemic, we surely have realized that true joy is being with people dear to us.  Be led by the light of joy, that comes from a sense of belonging and cherishing what is truly important to you. Be led by the light of joy and take what you have learned from the pandemic that has made a positive impact on your life.  Be led by the light of what matters most to you.  Celebrate that this Christmas.


Posted in Weekly Word

17 responses to “Be Led by the Light of Joy

  1. Thanks, Anne
    Sometimes whimsy and just plain fun can lead to a place we wouldn’t ordinarily recognize. I like the poppies because I like poppies. I like the little birds because they have a “certain character” about them (whatever a “certain character” might mean.)

  2. Anne,
    Is your mentor taking any new aspiring potters? I admire the level to which you’ve taken your medium.
    It speaks to me, for sure. Thanks for posting this fun and interesting side of your passion for creating art.

  3. Hi Anne!
    Thank you for reminding me to take time to find joy in my world. I am usually a happy person but being a joyful person implies a deeper level of happiness – I needed your reflections to remind me! Love your pottery and your joy!
    Hugs, Peg

  4. Thank you, Anne, for your meaning making pottery that brings much joy to others. I love the birds too! You are developing your gifts in pottery so beautifully.
    God bless you abundantly!


  5. I envy your talent, Anne! Your pottery is so beautiful! God has given you a great gift! Thanks for sharing what you enjoy creating with us!

  6. This is great, Anne! Anay way we could order large mugs with the birds or the poppies? I’d love to buy one!

    1. Claire, I am going to have a sale early in 2022. Stay tuned and I am making some larger than those shown. I think people are wanting larger mugs these days.

    2. Claire, I am making larger mugs with these motifs. I will have a sale in early 2022. I’ll keep you posted and hold a few for you.


  7. Happy Advent, Anne!
    I like the mug…if I drank from it , I would feel a spring
    in my legs of wanting to go and do something…
    Keep them coming…I may buy one, OK?
    Martina, OP

    1. Your comment is awaiting moderation.
      Martha, I will be having a sale early in 2022, if you can send me your contact information, I will notify you when that will happen. Thank you!

  8. Anne,
    They are wonderful! I love them! Through all my trans folks I’ve learned more than ever that nurturing one’s creativity is an undeniable expression of the presence of God. Or I should say in the spirit of the season, you are birthing God through your art.

    1. Martha, I will be having a sale early in 2022, if you can send me your contact information, I will notify you when that will happen. Thank you!

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