Skill/Serendipity

As you might know if you’ve seen my recent posts on facebook, I’ve got some new things in the works.  There is great excitement here in my messy little studio.

I feel grateful and triumphant in a couple of different ways.  To be making things at all is a huge victory over all the distractions, both inherent to life and created by me.  (Credit here must go to my husband for cooking and watching a toddler at the same time so I can work.)  To be making different things than I was making pre-baby, fewer of them so that I can take the time to make them really wonderful: this is refreshing and life-giving.

And it’s always fun to have new stuff.

It should be mentioned that these are process photos—pots in raw clay form (in this case porcelain), the photos usually taken right when I’ve put the finishing touches to them and am most excited.  They still need to dry out, then be fired, glazed, and fired again.

I have noticed something about myself—I love having a finished product.  Much of my happiness in creating objects in assorted media is in seeing them completed, and in a sense having checked them off a list (I am a list-maker).  It’s not that I don’t enjoy the processes; I just like getting things done, and I like having them.

But pottery is an exception to some degree.  The process is very satisfying; each stage is a tiny completion in itself.  The whole span from lump of clay to finished, glass-coated piece is long—but it comes in nice meaty sections, each of which has its own inherent creative decisions and start-to-finish nothing-to-something satisfactions.  And then when you get that piece back, out of the kiln, you turn it around in your hands and see all the facets that you did and didn’t expect.  You see how each of the processes, fluid or exact—knead, throw, build, carve, stamp, add handles, smooth, twist, stretch, dry, fire, glaze, fire—have layered and melded together, laboring to make this condensed and hardened final beautiful thing.  Some of it you did, by skill or by some serendipitous movement of hand, and some of it was done for you by the unknowable chemistry of the kiln.  Some of it is what you knew you wanted all along, and some of it is new and lovely.  So there is grace and gratefulness, as well as that tiny happy pride.

Getting to use the finished piece doesn’t hurt either, especially if it holds coffee.  And speaking of being finished, I’ll start glazing and firing these up in September. Pictures to follow.

 

 

 

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