Friday, January 02, 2009

starting fresh

Happy new year! I hope everyone is in an industrious mood as we ready ourselves for 2009. Me, I'm getting serious. I started by hosting a party for my pottery posse on the first day of the year, asking everyone to bring their old pots that needed to be smashed. The pots that are perfect except for the hairline cracks, the part that stuck to the kiln shelf, the bad design, the handle that fell off, the chips... basically, the pots that are too fucked-up to sell, or nobody wants to buy, but are still hanging around the studio, gathering dust and taking up space.

See, this is the thing about being a potter: there is not a heartier soul on the planet, and we are fantastically gifted. I mean, we make beautiful wares out of mud for christ sake. Like every gift, it has its good side and its bad side. The good side is, we make beautiful wares out of mud. The bad side is, we get stuck with the stinky fruits of our endeavors, but we think we can make a diamond out if that turd eventually. Remember those dead bird cake stands? They have been sitting on my shelf since spring, and those babies are big, heavy, and depressing to look at. I don't want to sell them, because they are too messed up, and I don't want to throw them out, because they represent so much effort. So I lug them around, drained of a tiny bit of energy every time they catch my eye.

We set up the pottery smashing station out of our dining room window. It was ideal because the garage is below our apartment, and there is enough distance between window and driveway to create an incredibly satisfying smashing sound:

video

or not:


The first pot I tossed, I must admit I was conflicted. It hurt. I felt sad, and not sure I was doing the right thing. It was like giving a beloved pet The Shot when they are limping around, in pain, and unable to eat anymore, but you still love them and want them to keep on living so you can love them some more. But I got over it as I tossed out more and more, and the weight of carrying around these pots was lifted. In that way, it was not like giving a pet The Shot, because when all the pots were in shards in the driveway, I was happy they were gone, and pleased with my cleared off shelves. If you have not gotten rid of those old pots, do it now. It was totally fantastic, appeals to the destructo in all of us, and the noise it makes is really cool.
video

17 comments:

  1. Hahahaha, fantastic!

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  2. Damn that looks like fun!

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  3. You called a mosaic artist right? RIGHT? AHG!!!!!!

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  4. Excellent idea.



    michele d.

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  5. At Fine Mess Pottery, we call this a Hammer Party. So freeing!
    I clicked on the 'dead bird" link, and started my day with a laugh -- thank you!

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  6. Looks like you had a smashing time! *groan*

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  7. Oooh! I'm dying here. Are all those beautiful bits gone? I do broken tile mosaics and am always searching for great colors, interesting cutves, and little doodads. Anything left?
    Ms Mertz

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  8. Have you ever tried selling those damaged items? There are probably more than a few us that are willing to buy them. :-)

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  9. Yay! I love that you had a party with your pottery pals and threw them out a window! (I just toss mine in the dumpster, and use the occasional hammer, if needed.)

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  10. Ms Mertz, there is currently a big bin of smashed bits in front of my studio. If you want 'em, and you can haul 'em, come and get it.

    As for trying to sell this work, one really has to weigh the benefit of hanging onto crap in the hopes of foisting it onto a buyer, or getting rid of it and selling the best stuff at a higher price. Though I do sell "seconds", I try to keep my sold work at a certain level, if for no other reason than I do not want to be haunted by my worst work in the future.

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  11. YAY! Will it still be there Thursday?

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  12. Whitney! Thank you so very much for the New Years wishes!!!
    That must have been fun! Great idea!!!

    Have a happy and healthy... and let me know if you are ever in the NYC area... I'll get you smashed! Get it? Smashed? AhahAhahaha!

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  13. Ms Mertz, it will likely still be there thursday, I'll ask my husband to drag it behind my studio. And bring your own bins!

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  14. Very good idea ! Happy new year !

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  15. Ms Mertz11:13 AM

    Thank you, thank you Whitney. Fun meeting you after being a voyeur of your blog for so long. Interesting to see your showroom and the works-in-progress in your studio. Can't wait to use my dogwood dessert plates.
    I am in heaven sorting through the pieces; a bird here, a dogwood there, pieces of your red poppy bowl, "la la" (from Rae's work), parts of stippled lemons and leaves (from Diana Fayt), some wonderful painterly polka dots (no idea whose they are) and tons more. What a gift! Thanks! I'll send photos of finished pieces.

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  16. your blog is great! i just cleaned out the studio today too. but your party looked like much more fun!

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  17. Wow, throwing them from the upper story sounds like so much more fun than smashing them in the trash can which I did not too long ago, I still have a few more to do. A couple of them I am sorry I did now wishing I had held them for a mosaic artist, that will be for next time.

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