And the sky was the color of clay.” – Sting

5:50am on a Friday. #72 / 5 of 5 is at 660F. Glimmer of first light, coffee, Very Quiet playlist on; full of almost tearjerkers.

C & M still asleep, world still asleep. Just me and flashlights and sketchpad and the pyrometer. I could mark out three months of ideas in an hour; crazy; how the mind races ahead. Terrible at living in the moment, and yet unexpectedly, an ultra rare moment of deep gratitude. The time- and labor-worn curve of my wedging block, beauty like I hope to fall into with my best pots. The soft roar of the burner filling with air just outside the windows. The sound of more cars on the gravel than usual, because the railroad crossing is closed.

Grateful that I prepped salt yesterday, and cut myself some paths through the grass. That I saved the best pots for last, and that these ones that I rushed and crammed and stole out of thin air just a couple weeks ago and now on their way to becoming real. That I went to bed early, and fell back asleep at 1:30 after turning the burner on. That it’s finally not cold for this. Going to be perfect firing weather today.

Almost done firing, almost done with another half year cycle, almost done with feeling like I have to cram and hustle every hour, at least for a little while. BIG FUN scheduled for May. And another one for June. And another one in July. Wow, too much fun.

And as much as I’ve trained myself, told myself, to learn the lessons of the past and not buy into future hopes, those still get past my defenses. They won’t be perfect, but they might be great. God, just slightly better than the average grind and dread would be a relief.

But also, a little sadness that I don’t get to glaze anymore for a while? Regret that I’ll forget where my kiln wash bucket is, again, or the nuances of every little fused together door brick and how they fit back into the puzzle. That amber celadon is best in zones C, D and E, and is the only glaze that can go in F, and even there, spaced generously off the back wall. As hard as its been, I thrive on the comfort of deep repetition; of getting to know the thing I’m doing so well that at times I get the luxury of not having to think about what I’m doing and yet still doing it well.

Trust in my kiln again (or for the first time ever?). In the brick stack to pull me through to the end, in my hard-won stockpiled RAM of details — on the last firing I can almost do it all by feel, the patterns and routine are so pleasingly locked in. Maybe I can even nap a little later on today, without nagging fear? Huh? Well… Maybe. As soon as you let your guard down, that’s when they hit you.

A beautiful variety — and quantity — of pots arriving. So encouraging to like them better in the flesh than I already did on the web. Confirms my faint faith that all the blah blah blah about living with them and humble details and real objects in the hand is actually a thing worth fighting for. It means so much that they’re from people I consider friends. I know what they’re up to, going for, hoping for, in their work. Mostly the same things as me. I hope a lot of people come so I can proselytize that view from a different range of perspectives. Maybe some of it will stick in new or useful ways. Or maybe no one will come at all, it’ll be a snoozer, and I’ll have to backtrack to CG and RP and BP with apologies and regrets. The whole range is possible, as always. As always.

Alright — enough indulgent gazing at yourself in the proverbial mirror. Quartz is almost done. Time to put on day clothes and seal up those cracks; get the girl ready for school; keep running down the list of peripheral tasks. Time is still very, very short.

# 72

A photo posted by Scott Cooper (@stearth) on