23 May 2008

The Great Potters' Pick-Up Line

"Want to go throw a pot?"

Somehow there's a glee, a glint in the eye that insinuates, "You know, like in GHOST?" And it is not an untoward pick-up line, if even really a pick-up line, maybe more of a combination greeting/come-on. It is innocuous, except in that hopeful "maybe we'll get our hands dirty together and then ... " way.

So I received this line today because I went to the clay studio I'll be in for the first time, in work clothes -- while, not formal, are clean and office-oriented, not clay-lab-oriented. So the "come on, throw a pot" gesture of some wiry, middle-aged dude was funny also. I do love the gross-clothes mentality of potters. I think my Cornell prof Doug kept cleanest, despite running in and throwing on your wheel all the time. The thirty years of throwing contributes, I'm sure; he also does something like 500 sit-ups a day to keep his back strong for kiln loading and unloading. My solution to the fact of working with mud for hours a day was to wear the same clothes all the time and to shower infrequently. It made sense then. Don't ask, please.

This clay lab only fires to cone six. CONE SIX is for lame earthenware and, yeah, fine, some decent stoneware glazes, but come on. Come on! But the Glaze Committee chair seems great and very into raku, and that bodes well for me. And she wants to see my glazes. Too bad they won't melt in their wimpy kiln. Cone six. Blah. Everything I've ever done that low I had to smoke-fire afterwards just to feel like it was burnt enough. Bring on the smoke fires ...

The Springer Center also has this beautiful gallery space, some hallway and some in a old foyer area, and that latter part has thirty-foot-high ceilings, dark wood paneling, bright white radiator covers, and an inlaid marble floor. Wow oh wow oh wow. I think I could build some kind of trellis thing, some framed structure with lattis or something on top to hang pots from upside down. Because that is what I've wanted to do for a year or so -- make white-glazed pinch pots and hang them upside down. Not sure why. Don't let that stop me.

And I am happier today than I have been in a long time. I'm sad they don't make their own clay, but the lab is so cramped, it is okay. I am sad there will be no salt firings or soda firings, but that is okay too. What I need is to touch clay, and that I have.

I think the key to my making is believing it is worth doing. That the leads are worth following, that the materials are plentiful enough, that the time is always there if I want it.

And I want to layer fired, glazed clay, like cross sections of pinch pots in colors nested/rested or something. I want to look at them together. But not glaze them too much.

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