Friday, October 20, 2006

good days, bad days

There are good days in the studio, and there are bad days in the studio. A lot of people think that because I get to play with clay all day, every day must be a good day, and that is generally true. There are even some days that are amazing. Today was an amazing day, and it was doubly amazing because I was rebounding from a very bad yesterday.

The bad yesterday started out normally: a big dose of coffee and an early start in the studio to finish glazing a big round of orders. The studio was toasty warm because of a firing the day before. When the kiln was cool enough to start cracking, I peeked in as I always do. I'm usually so excited to see what comes out of the kiln, but today my heart started thumping hard and I felt sick to my stomache. On the top shelf I had 5 of my cake stands with the little sculpted birds perched on them. From what I could see the little birds were... missing. They had fallen off during the firing. Insert your choice of expletives here as I paced around my studio, taking this in. The kiln was full of these cake stands, and I had made them all at the same time, probably making the same mistake in attaching the birds over and over. It was a fair assumption that all of them had fallen off. And these were for orders that were already a few days behind!

The rest of the afternoon was spent stressing out, calling accounts to let them know their orders would be late, and stressing out some more. I finally left the studio around 7, dreading the next day; I would have to ditch my plans to make new work in preparation for a show and re-make all the cake stands. When I woke up this morning though, I felt fine. I knew I had a full day of work ahead of me and probably no time to go to the gym or enjoy the beautiful sunny day outside, but I still felt good. I went to the studio and threw all day long, 75 pounds of clay total. The clay was at the ideal firmness that I like to work with, the texture perfect. The clay and I were one: all I had to do was think about what I wanted it to do and it did it. I amazed myself by throwing all the cake plates in under an hour, they just flew off my fingers. I didn't want to stop-- I threw cake stands, lidded vessels, vases, bowls. Finally, around 4:30, the clay started wobbling. The magic was over. I've learned that when the magic is over, don't push it. I turned off the wheel and went for a walk, thanking the clay gods-- or whoever it was-- for an amazing day in the studio.


  1. Just discovered your blog - via one black bird- and love reading about your process. It's so great to read of struggles so similar to my own. Your work is just amazizng. I look forward to reading more.

  2. Anonymous9:41 AM

    your work is amazing, I love it all. Keep writing!

  3. Anonymous5:17 PM

    I love "... all I had to do was think about what I wanted it to do and it did it." What an explicit example of the power of our mind, and most importantly your ability to allow it to happen.

  4. Oh my godness....those cake plates! Where can I get one, seriously!