14 February 2008

what a little chai can do for you

Ka-pow! Caffeine overload! Not counting the amount I think I've had! Zing zang zoom!


When I was taking advanced ceramics and getting close to finishing my bachelor's in art, my (one) professor told me that pots like to keep twisting in the kiln, twisting in the direction they were thrown. He said it was subtle enough that we usually didn't notice, but that it was better to account for a bit of twist in a pot when you were putting on a handle or spout.

I followed his advice. All my pots with handles and spouts have twisted parts -- because I overcompensated. They didn't twist that much.

But I see it in commercially-made ceramics, too. Little difference in the alignment of the top and bottom of a handle. Little angling.


I maybe remember the smell of a clay lab the strongest. Mold, burnt chemicals, silica, powdered minerals, 55-gallon trash cans full of water and scraps of unfired clay. The kiln's raw metal smell, and the smell of the air at 2800 deg. F. Everything burns.

I think about how soft I've gotten, how I wash my hands all the time now for 15 seconds always, how I use face wash and lip balm, how I brush my hair. How I shower regularly (knowing that everyday, for hours everyday, you're going to be caked in mud makes showering seem like a total waste of time and water and soap). Art-making wasn't like that. It was really hard, the hardest thing I've ever done. It took everything out of me.

Which is why knitting is so much safer. Don't you all approve of a regularly-bathing Christine?

But man, the chaos of it. The glazes I made from ash and only ash. Ash and feldspar. Ash and feldspar and cobalt. Their melting rates were extreme, so they could only be used inside a vessel, not outside; the chunks of grit that I refused to sift out would all collect in the bottom of a bowl. Starburst. I called them galaxy bowls for a while.

The mess, the chaos, the pre-verbal quiet of it. I remember the hours I spent one day smashing old clear liquor bottles that a bar let me take for free. No mask; didn't think it through very well. Just a hammer and some old canvas on a concrete basement floor. It was so loud. So many shards, so many tiny cuts on the skin.

And when I was doing it, all of it, it was so automatic, so fluid; it was like not being there at all. Nothing gets me that vivid anymore.


So, valentines. So.

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