About making jars & work

Posted on Feb 5, 2014

There was a kid standing in front of the library desk the other day. She’s a nice kid. Clever. She looks at me like I’m the lamest person in the world if I tell a silly joke, then she’ll roll her eyes. But I can tell she likes it.

She asked for a page to color. I did a google search. Post-modern life has no room for the bound newsprint based pictures. Google brought up an image of an owl. “Nope, too hard” she said. Then another. Same response. I think she’s a fourth grader.

Too hard. Really? She’s not the only kid that says this. “Too hard.”

Greyhound jar Sarah Regan Snavely

I wish I could remember what I was like in fourth grade. I wish I could teach this kid how much I enjoy doing hard things. How much value there is in the process of trying, and, sometimes, failing. That the process has value.

Granted, it’s only a coloring page. I would understand if she said boring.

Sarah Regan Snavely rabbit jar

I’ve been making lidded jars. Some have two lids – a flat, knobbed interior lid and a cupped exterior lid with figure on top.  Some have only the cupped lid with figure. Some of the bodies of the jars have drawings. All are to some extent tests. Glaze tests. Shape tests. Lid design tests.


I’m having so much fun making these jars. Man, is it difficult. I struggle with centering the clay, making shapes that I find appealing, incorporating a narrative in the drawing, engineering a lid that fits, maintaining the integrity of the figure on top while keeping scale and proportion in mind, and applying glaze with efficiency.


Then the tail cracks, the clay warps during drying or firing, or the glaze is uneven or unappealing. But this shape is more successful than that shape. This lid fits really well. This design is visually harmonious. Next time they will be better.

Jack Rabbit jar Sarah Regan Snavely

We continued the search for the coloring page and settled on one that was more difficult that she liked. A little more complex. Slightly.


  1. Sara Ryerson
    February 5, 2014

    Nice post, and I absolutely love your work. I have 2 greys through REGAP Illinois, and getting one of your pieces is on my bucket list 🙂 Thanks for doing the hard stuff – the results are a great lesson.

  2. Pam Rubinstein
    February 5, 2014

    Wonderful story!!! You truly have a gift.

  3. Paulette Blinch
    February 6, 2014

    I saw the one with the squirrel on top and thought that would be for Please!
    I love this concept. They are lovely.

  4. Gary Rith
    February 7, 2014

    From one potter to another: Your work is STUNNING 🙂

  5. Yes I Know My Dogs Look Funny
    February 7, 2014

    The first thing I thought when I saw those jars is that one of those would be a fitting place for my heart dog to reside instead of the box she is currently in. That is worthy of her. Just beautiful.

  6. genjiscorner
    February 8, 2014

    The jars are beautiful. Guess you have to work yourself up to the tough stuff. I’m guilty of saying ‘that sounds like too much work’ 🙂

    • Louise Gagné
      March 13, 2014


      I don’t have a greyhound but I have always been very fond of these wonderful dogs. I do have a dachshund who likes greyhounds. I liked your post and I have fallen in love with your work. Your jars are magnificent. It always makes me happy to be able to discover things of beauty like your creations! Thank you!

      • Sarah Regan Snavely
        March 26, 2014

        Thank you! I feel like I’m on the right track with the jars. Now to make more.

  7. Paula Otteson
    July 17, 2014

    Ah, the squirrel jar…..how perfect it would have been for Zuma’s ashes. She was our whippet squirrel huntress. She knew what the word squirrel meant and would try to look for some when we said the word. They drove her crazy! The jar is awesome, as is all of your work. I’m glad you try different things, harder things, squirrel things, lol.


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