At age 4 Paulus Berensohn asked his parents for dance lessons. "Boys in our family don't dance," was their response. That didn't deter him. When his mother complained to a friend about his persistence, her friend exclaimed, "But Edith, to dance is to spring from the hand of God!" Berensohn would go on to study dance at Juilliard, but his life took another unexpected turn when he witnessed Karen Karnes, a famous potter of the time, at work. The play of breath, energy and movement in her practice of the craft led him to a deep revelation of his own aspiration. Says Berensohn, "I was suddenly overwhelmed with a longing to learn that dance. The bridge for me at first wasn't so much the clay itself and what one made of it, or so I thought, but the dance one dances with it." He pivoted his life towards pottery and a profound inner exploration. In his words, "I am very interested in the behavior of art rather than the achievement of art. I see all the arts as apprenticeships for the big art of our lives." A new documentary, "To Spring From the Hand" pays tribute to this extraordinary artist and his enduring legacy. You can watch a few excerpts here.
In 2013 Paulus Berenson was made an Honorary Member of NCECA (Nation Council on Education for the Ceramic Art). The above excerpts from To Spring from the Hand were played at the ceremony.
Paulus taught thousands of people across the USA and across the world how to make and keep their own journals. He sometimes called these books, "Soul's Kitchen". Below is a related excerpt from To Spring From the Hand.
"Everything is art when you're dressed for it" says Paulus Berensohn. In the following excerpt from To Spring From the Hand, he shares a story that summons us to pay genuine attention to our lives, and our world.
Learn more about the film and Paulus' journey and work through the film's website here.