“These hands had to let it go free and… this love came back to me.
Oh-ah-oh. Oh-ah-oh. Whoa-oh.” – Taylor Swift
It came back again. I’ll be damned if it doesn’t always come back, even when that possibility seems remote. At least, it’s come back so far. Maybe one day it won’t. Who knows?
But I don’t mean it’s back like ‘falling in love all over again’; not a bolt from the blue or a ceremonial parade. More like a homecoming or a long journey. Sometimes, there’s that unexpected, un-forceable “Oh, there you are, Peter” moment, which is pretty sweet. Discovering a shard of my former self amidst the ruins.
It’s (also) always a struggle. I’ve tried a bit to lure the Muse back in; seen her, briefly; a flash in the corner of my eye. But I suspect she was just passing through on the way to someone who deserves her attention more. I just haven’t earned it yet, baby.
“Excuse me. Can you not see that I’m driving? If you’re serious about wanting to exist then I spend eight hours a day in the studio. You’re welcome to come and visit me when I’m sitting at my piano. Otherwise, leave me alone and go bother Leonard Cohen.”
– Tom Waits
Anyways, I made those Meerfeld bowls — not copies — and slipped a few of them — not with a flashing slip of the caliber of his amazing, elusive yellow, but just my white body slip. I’ll do some stuff over it at bisk, I guess. I got that warbly line through the stamp and that hard break to the upright rim pretty well, a few times, and the general spirit of the foot, but never quite nailed it. Seems I need a “hoof knife”, if rumor is to be believed. (For once, a trip to Tractor Supply that I’m looking forward to.)
And I might have only come close to that perilous, intoxicating thinness once… not only would I need to throw with more finesse, I’d also have to trim away more riskily. Probably a few dozen more to cut right through — is ten dozen pots analogous to ten thousand hours? — before I get a feel for that kind of wall depth.
Oh, and none of mine quite acheived that globe-like, enveloping upwards swoop. Such a unique volume; what I once took for affectation I now see as genius. Really.
Then I made a half dozen of those larger bowls, another item off the (theoretical) punchlist. I think I ramped up from 4 to 7 1/2 pounds with them, keeping the largest ones just inside the 13” that I measured from my shelves & posts setup. I probably — I mean, if I wasn’t such a pragmatic coward — probably could have thrown 14”+ and been fine, between shrinkage and upwards torqueing during drying. Maybe next time. Anyways, it was fun to throw that amount of clay — an extreme rarity for me these days, post-Backapocalypse — and I really enjoyed moving that volume of clay through space; containing more air in one go; hefting them around the studio from wet to flipped to trimmed to deco to slowly drying out. That also reframed my intuitive sense of how much is how much, so that when I went on to 2 1/2# bases for 2-part vases, it seemed like just a wee bit o’ mud. Nothing to cry about here.
Of course, I still suck at throwing cylinders, especially tallish narrowish ones after a long layoff from that form, so while they looked nice and worked out well enough once finished, they a some damn anchors. You could put a wad of 36” giant sunflowers in these 13” tall vases and they’d be fine. Oh dear. Ah well.
I’m feeling bored with the predictable ‘domino’ dots pattern that I’ve optimized myself into — a safe-yet-appealing offset one-two manuever. So for one of those I did both an unfamiliar pattern in the black underglaze and then a brand new thing with the dots. Not saying it’s gonna start a goddamn revolution or anything [Bernie 2020!], but it’s intriguing. Good enough to try again.
I only managed two of those — slow start, and I’d forgotten that my new anti-cracking method requires making and finishing them in the same day — so I’m chomping at the bit to make more. If I commit to an even dozen, then surely they’ll all crack, but if I only do five, they’ll be fine and I’ll be left wishing I’d done more. Hey, don’t blame me — it says ‘fatalism’ right on the tin.
Which is odd to put all that in writing instead of photos, but also oddly satisfying and reminiscient. I think we fall back on images, in this image-saturated age, much to quickly much too often. Words are good for a different kind of thinking, planning, analysis. Understanding, perhaps.
Also, it seems my initial blush with Instagram is starting to fade; while the Instafeedback can be gratifying, it can also feel like a chore. Also, as I remain phoneless, lugging my iPad out to the studio is kind of a pain, too, and adds the complication of yet another way to lose focus. Streaming podcasts are nice, but god help me if I start scrolling through something random.
So, screw you, illiterate image lovers! Since none of you made it this far, I’m more than happy to insult you! Thanks for not coming!
Seriously, as I suggested last time, I am aiming for (even) more directness here; and pretty content with letting the chips fall. If I’m lucky, this strateg will whittle my readership back down into the single digits, where I’m more comfortable blahing my yap into the world.
Okay, let’s end with something better than that:
I have picked up, moved, shaped,
and lightened myself of many tons of clay,
and those tons lifted, moved, and shaped me,
delivering me to this living-space
I wake and move about in…
– Jack Troy
It gets even better after that. Thanks, Witt, for reminding me of this one.