Madison Worthington’s parents began taking her to art shows and craft exhibits when she was just a toddler. It wasn’t always easy to control her tiny, curious fingers, so the little girl frequently heard words such as, “Don’t touch! The pretty things are breakable!”
Madison understood the message, but she couldn’t wrap her tongue around “breakable.” Her closest compromise came out as a lisping “breakiful.” That mispronunciation eventually became the girl from Flower Mound’s Breakiful Ceramics, supported by her Lady Bug logo.
Life moved on for Madison. The early appreciation of art instilled by her parents grew with her natural, almost instinctive attraction to ceramics encouraged by a family friend who was an accomplished potter.
Unfortunately, Madison’s road took an unexpected turn, becoming rutted and rough. Dark, scary clouds gathered over her at an early age.
“I grew up struggling with mental health problems,” the 24-year-old said.
It’s okay. You can say the words aloud. After all, Madison doesn’t whisper them.
“I attempted suicide many times,” she said. “And, at 15, I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder traits. At 18, when I was considered an adult, they dropped the word traits from the diagnosis. I feel I need to be open about it — to talk about it. I consider it a responsibility; my contribution to removing the stigma, the shame, and the fear of judgment that make so many people stay silent.”
Madison has learned to view the situation within an easily understood perspective that says: A diabetic person has malfunctioning pancreas, which causes an imbalance in insulin production and use. Medication, with diet and exercise, balances the scales. Her borderline personality disorder is caused by a chemical imbalance in her brain. Medication, with therapy and exercises such as meditation and mindfulness, restores balance.
“My art turned into one of my most important medications. It literally saved my life,” Madison says. “For one thing, it’s the constant practice of mindfulness. I’m aware of everything my fingers and my hands do with the clay the moment I do it. I taught myself to use a potter’s wheel when I was young. I was in a school ceramics class, but we had only one or two wheels. I instinctively knew I needed to learn immediately, so I skipped lunch and worked at it every day.”
She added, “I enjoy the throwing part of the process the most. So much emotion can go into it. The clay gets treated pretty rough if I’m angry! I throw it and punch it a lot, but I think my best pots come from when I’m happy.”
That’s a good thing because Madison is happy a lot these days. She’s a member of Dallas Makes Space, where she shares her art passion within the ceramics community. She has a booth at the Denton Community Market and is a member of Etsy. She’s currently in Colorado, where she was invited to exhibit her ceramics in Summer on the Streets. Making the trip was a huge step. She and her mom, Mary, approached the adventure with excitement and nervousness.
Pottery teaches Madison so many life lessons.
“I always think I know how the glaze will turn out,” she said. “But that’s not true. It’s filled with happy accidents, just like life. So often, neither glazes nor life turn out the way we anticipate. I want my pottery to have enough similarities that people recognize it as mine without turning it over, and I want my story to help make world changes.”
She’s well on her way to doing both.
photos courtesy of Madison Worthington and Mary Worthington