Several people that have known me for years have asked..."why pottery?". It's a valid question and one that I have a hard time explaining. Yes, I have had an interest in pottery for years and I do believe it has something to do with the smell of wet earth - similar to the smell one experiences when gardening. I also believe it goes way beyond that (at least for me).
I was drawn to it initially because of what I perceive to be a direct extension to gardening, working in the soil, feeling the sand, the dirt, the clay on my hands and knowing that great things can come from that. But it has gone beyond that now, or at least it feels like it has.
I find I am drawn in to the process. I tend to be very process oriented...I like things that are linear and that can be clearly defined by steps. For me, pottery is that way. You pick up a chunk of clay, you weigh it, you wedge it, you prepare your bat on the wheel, you center the clay, you pull the clay, you shape the clay, you let the clay dry, you embellish, you bisque, you glaze and then you glaze fire. Of course, there are 1001 potential steps in between all of those, but it is still a linear process that has basic define steps that have existed for a millennium.
And while all of that is true - there is something else that is more difficult to explain.
The rest is more internal. There is a joy to it that I have not been able to replicate with anything else. There is a sense of well being, a sense of having found a piece of myself that was buried for more years than I care to think about. I won't say it is my "calling" because that is not the case. It is, however, something I was meant to find at some point in my life and even though it took 50+ years to find it...I did and I am relishing every single minute of it - the process, the learning, the successes and yes, the failures as well (and there have been many). I won't say that I am good at it either. I don't know that I am bad at it, but I do know many who are by far better and who have learned much more quickly. But at this stage of my life, I am not trying to be the "best" at something. I did that for 40 years in my career. I just want to be "good enough" to produce pieces that are meaningful to me and to those who receive them. Pieces that are well made (if not perfect) and appealing to the eye and are functional and will be put to good use.
So to answer the question - there is no single answer. It is simply what I am enjoying doing at this stage of my life and I guess that, is really, all that matters.