Let the Beauty of what you Love be what you Do...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lessons in Non-Attachment the Clay Way

I've spoke of these lessons before~ you create, you may grow to love what you create, and then, sometimes... you have to let it go. It's all really very zen if you think about it. I started this Micaceous pot back in early Feb~ a "casserole dish for one." (Sometimes a regular size casserole is just a bit more than you really need!)

My Micaceous Class doesn't start 'til May... but what I am beginning to learn about myself is that my passion for clay knows no bounds, and while taking 2 classes & working certainly is enough... I can't seem to help from working on these pots & making the bears on the side. Which leaves precious little time for the other life stuff... but I digress. Back to the pot. Looks like a chocolate cake, doesn't it?

Things were going along just fine, and I was fairly happy w/ the size & shape of it.

But, with clay, as is with life... timing is everything. I cut the lid before it was time... and as it was drying, it warped & cracked... rendering my lid useless.

But, you know me... I rarely give up (though sometimes perhaps I should!) So I figured I'd try making another lid. 

Now, keep in mind, the pot itself was already fairly dry, so trying to find the right size puki to build my lid in was a bit challenging considering I had to try to accommodate/guess about the shrinkage rate.

This was a good start. I figured I could go back & make repairs & fill in the gaps later to get a good lid fit. (Now that is one thing I love about Micaceous clay- the ability to make such repairs, or add handles, or fill cracks when the clay is in a dry state. You really can't get away with that w/ the commercially processed clays.)

Above, getting ready to add the handle, below the new lid & the original warped & cracked one.

Hmmm... well, I figured I could repair this crack, too... though it was in a risky spot~ at the bottom of the pot near where I had added my first coil.

I figured what the heck... I'll fill it (as I was in the process of doing in the pic above) sand it, polish it, burnish it... it'll be fine. But after speaking w/ my instructor, I found that these particular cracks are persnickety about repairs. They will often show up again as hairline cracks where the repairs are done- after they are fired... or worse, when on the stovetop. Soooooo, after all that work and all that time spent, I must say goodbye to this pot (and dang it~ note the much better lid fit!)

It only took a few minutes to return to the mud from which it started. It'll be recycled & mixed in w/ more clay to have life again as a new pot in the not-too-distant future. I do have one more pot this happened to, but I just couldn't quite throw it into the slop bucket yet! I may try firing it just to see what happens. It's all a learning process either way, so we'll see! And while the Clay will teach you these lessons in non- attachment over & over again... sometimes, well, you just cling to a special piece... not wanting to let go. I'm getting much better with this issue in my wheel throwing class-if it's not going the way I like, I have far less problems w/ recycling it, or if a potentially nice pot turns out crappy because of my glaze experimentations, I can generally let that go as well. I think the time involvement (many hours for one pot) is the reason I become so attached to the Mica Clay Pots, but perhaps in time, I'll learn to let that go, too.


DirtKicker Pottery said...

Such a bummer :(

Tammie Lee said...

I love your passion for working with clay, that is just beautiful. I feel that way about my art and arts....

sandy said...

Becky, You inspire me to work harder at what I want to do, and be.

Thanks so much!

I stole your quote.

marianne said...

wow. what a good attitude you have. i think i'd be crying! which is why i do mixed media & not clay. the shape of the pot is just lovely, i'm sure that you'll have just what you want next time-

Randy said...

One thing I like about clay is that it really teaches you patience. Keep it up Becky and have a great weekend.

Annie said...

Becky, So sorry you had to say good bye to this wonderful little pot. I know how clay is and eventhough it is by choice I have to do the same sometimes with a painting that is not working.
Glad you had fun on your trip. You have a very cool grandmother and mom!

clairz said...

I may have mentioned this before. The instructor in the only pottery class I ever took had interned in Japan. For his first whole year as a student, each pot he made on the wheel was taken off and cut in half with a wire so that he could observe the walls and see how his technique was coming along. I’ve never forgotten that. Although I didn’t continue with pottery, it was a good life lesson about patience and perseverance and perfection.

You are right, Becky, every pot you make is teaching you something and probably not just about pots.

Barb said...

Oh - nooooo! I probably would have used it as a jewelry holder. The end shot made me think of dust to dust though. I guess in the end, we are all like the pot. Hope you're getting out into the spring sunshine a bit, Becky!

Wanda..... said...

I'm sure there will be another "casserole dish for one." before too long. From the top it looked perfect, Becky!