“…the craft ideal had largely been reduced to a revivifying hobby for the affluent: the nervous businessman would return refreshed to the office after a weekend of puttering at his basement workbench.” – T. J. Jackson Lears, No Place of Grace
So I’ve made 6 small pitchers and 17 medium ones. (Also 4 small batter bowls (inspired by (eg. stolen from) one I got from Clary Illian last time I visited her.) That’s 27 pots with pouring spouts in a row. I think I could happily make another 20 or so before getting genuinely satisfied/restless enough to move onto something else. It feels good to have my throwing chops sharpening, pulling up all those cylinders. I’m still finding new methods and postures for it, at the standing wheel. It’s awkward, and mentally uncomfortable to adjust to something that fundamental to the making process. And too easy to fall back into the same stances that fucked up my back on the treadle wheel. Maintaining hyper-vigilance on that issue is super distracting, but absolutely necessary. It saps the creative impulse. It takes more time. It’s fucking b-o-r-i-n-g. But it’s a lot better than lying around on a heating pad, waiting around until I can get to work again.
Prudence says I should stop making pitchers — enough pitchers already! — and move onto something else. Shut up, Prudence. Oh, and fuck you, Pete — I’m doing this for my sake, not yours.
I want to keep going, like I did with faceting in the making cycle before last, and with punching all those ridiculous little porcelain holes last winter. Because, you know, neither of those indulgences of ART and The Muse and following ‘my gut’ resulted in a pile of as-yet-unwanted, unsold pots in the showroom, did they? Oh no. (Pro tip: Don’t look in the showroom.) I’d like to steadily keep climbing the ladder: two and a half pounds, three, 3.25, dare I dream of four? To keep on a steady, knowable ramp, with clear signs of progress, with a shot at embedding some of this new stuff into deep memory; into hand memory instead of relying on the crap between my ears. I’d like to go so far that it becomes a thing; a bonkers, clearly too much, over the top thing, a capital-P Project. One whole wall in the showroom that’s nothing but pitchers at the sale, so many that they can’t be ignored, that they make people who came in the door not even considering buying that form think twice, that the sheer volume and variety of them causes new thoughts about pitcherness and where one of these archaic, quaint objects might find a place on your shelf, if not in your weekly routine.
So do I do what I want? Do I get what I need? Can this merely revivifying hobby intersect with a serious pursuit on its way to an attempt at a capitalist endeavor? Oh, reason always has its reasons. Prudence and Pete, sitting there in the stands, either cheering or booing me along.
“This is a state of grace. This is the worthwhile fight. Love is a ruthless game, unless you play it good and right.” – Taylor Swift
I had a dream last night that I was playing some sort of ball game with a group of people; sort of like camp, sort of like a hybrid basketball, volleyball peppering thing. In the dream, I was pretty good at it; enough better than average that I was getting hand slaps and occasional mild “wows”. I woke up realizing that one of the things I miss about walleyball is that feeling of competence and above-average skill, and having it recognized in a social environment. In my studio, I can pull the leanest, meanest cylinder of the day and wrap it into a lovely shape and the crowd is silent. Just Prudence and Pete, in my head; not remotely the same thing as grins and pats on the back from your teammates when you bury the ball into the floor or make an improbable save.
Maybe that’s why this live video blogging thing is so popular. People looking for cheers when they make the play, not months later after it’s been set in stone and dusted off for polite public consumption.
So if I do give in and give up on pitchers, I’ll likely switch to something at least similar — keep climbing the vertical ladder with vases or jars or something that can capitalize on the rung I’ve achieved.
*** Of course, that is to say, if some other catastrophe doesn't come along, as they so often have, and knock me off the ladder completely. As soon as I say this out loud, I'll probably land on my head, get a concussion, and be out of commission for a month. ***
I’ve got a nice jar shape in mind, and I’ve been meaning to tackle cap lids since about forever. Like, seriously, 1996. That jar with the nicely poured bands of Shaner Red, on Weiser’s dark Newman’s stoneware. Some of these pitchers would have been swell vases, with a little tweak to the belly line, or a slight flare of the neck, instead of pulling that spout. That would be a natural transition, and Prudence would be so fucking happy. Pete would come over and give me one of those odd, manly slaps on the ass, which are somehow perfectly condoned on the field or court, but elsewhere srtictly forbidden. Hah! How funny is it to image the Pete in “for Pete’s sake” as Peter Voulkos?
”Good job there, Scotty.”
[Cigar chomp. Snort]
“Ya really nailed the fuck out of that fucker.”
“Thanks, Pete. I did it for you.”