Thursday, September 17, 2009


You may have read this before on my first blog that I could not re-access for posting! I copied and pasted it here for continuity. Thanks for indulging me.

Down to the cellar, where the studio is, where newly made stoneware pots are firming, and already firm pots are ready to trim; where dry scraps of trimmed-away clay are slaking their thirst in water and turning back into slurry; where trimmed pots are parching into bisqueware in the heat of the kiln; where bisqued pots are awaiting their coat of glaze; that's where I am going.

Just the thought of all that glorious ware in all the forms of its cycle pulls my feet downstairs at all sorts of hours. I check the pots: cover with plastic? Uncover? Are the handles put on well? Will the pitcher lip pour? Has the kiln finished firing? Is it cool enough to unload? Will I love all these pots, or dislike one enough to give it a smash on the concrete floor, hard?

Lately I am having a fertile phase in the pottery studio. But it hasn't always been this way, and there will without question be times again when it won't. Even in a good time, it is not unmitigated joy. In last week's glaze fire, for example, my reliable blue glaze spat on the kiln shelves and crawled in a most ugly way on a few of the nice pots in the kiln. Will thinning the raw glaze fix that? My trimming techniques need refining some more- some of these bowls need to lift from graceful feet instead of squatting like tired puppies. Minor adjustments could make these pots sing, or croak. I keep adjusting and developing even after 24 years.

This is a most humbling occupation. One kick(wheel) forward, two steps back, some days. But if it were easy, if it were rote, my pottery would be made as if by machine. It is the individual subtleties that create individual pots. Of twenty all similar, no two are really just the same. Of twenty all similar, it is altogether possible that one will need a good smackdown on the concrete when it comes out of the kiln. Smash! And its companion might have that certain je ne sais qua that makes you want to pick it up, own it.

This blog is about my life as a potter. My solo, cellarbound life as a person whose art is found in the combination of minerals, water, heat, effort, experience and the ridiculously strong human need to create.

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