Believe it or not, clay is a bunch of dirt. I was sorely reminded of that fact this past week.
Friends, I'm sorry to have been gone for so long. This week has been a bit trying in the grand scheme of preparing for the show which has taken the time away from me -- until now of course. I can barely keep my eyes open at the moment, but you are that important to me. I hope I can hear from you all back home as well! (Homesickness is the real deal folks.) On Wednesday of last week I was helping run the gas kiln (clay oven) for the first time at the Bascom. I put a good bit of my work in this large kiln because it offers a gas reduction -- which allows amazing results in glazes that I can't play with at back home. I only have an electric kiln to fire there and Greenville, SC, doesn't currently have resources to offer alternative high fire methods. So, you can say I put all my eggs in one basket. The firing went well, I didn't blow up the kiln or anything around it so things were looking good. On Friday, we opened the kiln. Christmas in clay world. The work looked SO GOOD - better than I could have ever anticipated....and then we heard a crack-- well several cracks. As I was holding these newfound treasures almost all of them cracked in my hands. After many tears, a walk in the woods nearby and some research, I gained some resolve. But I was still hurt and angry at what I thought to be the culprit. I continued to seek counsel.
HERE I must publicly thank my supportive clay family. Erin & Jason Hall from Alberta Pottery, Mike Vatalaro & Sue Grier -- there are no words that suffice how you came alongside of me and helped me problem solve, encouraged me to move forward & gave me the tools to do so. I love you guys!! (gush of emotion)
This week, I was given the opportunity to fire the kiln again but this time on my cooling schedule. However, I had to remake the work -- in three days instead of four weeks this time. Welp. Somehow, Lord knows how, I made it. I actually made more work than I lost. Now to fire everything. Again. Please send pray that these pieces make it through the firing without a hitch! I'm hoping and praying I will have enough good work that I'm proud of to display BEFORE the reception this Friday. I have A LOT riding on this show. Shoo..
Through it though, I was reminded again that there are so many things in life that parallel to the clay process. Clay is a humbling material. We can't always anticipate the outcomes exactly. And sometimes we have to let go of things we saw as precious that we had a hand in creating. Some vessels are meant for honor an some dishonor.
I still have the work that cracked - they are small almost unnoticeable cracks, but they aren't show worthy. A few are photographed above. I'm holding on to them to still remember the lessons I learned last week -- the good conversations, the hard conversations & and the inspiration that stems from both. In someways, I treasure those more now than I did my finished pots that cracked. Though I have a LOT of work yet ahead of me to make up for the losses and hope for the future.