Sunday, March 25, 2012

cake stand and I are breaking up

I have a boyfriend, and his name is Cake Stand. We've been together a long time. I realized something recently when I walked into my studio and found all of the cake stands I made earlier in the week with large cracks across the surface of the plate: Cake Stand and I have an unhealthy, co-dependent relationship. Cake Stand is a bad drunk, and I'm the girlfriend who runs around trying to mitigate its problems by thinking of what I'm doing wrong to make Cake Stand go bad, trying over and over again to come up with solutions that will get Cake Stand to come out perfect, excessively babying each piece to the point where my days--and nights-- are dominated by making Cake Stand and I have no time for thinking about other pottery pieces.

I've had problems with Cake Stand in the past, but I was determined to have Cake Stand in my collection so I worked really hard to figure out what made it tick, and for a while, things were good. I took cake stand orders, and I filled cake stand orders.  And I got complacent. I thought we had worked out our relationship and I could relax.  Then late last year, the plates started popping off the stands.  This is not a new problem, and I knew how to handle it. Cake Stand started drinking again, so you throw out all the booze, go to some meetings, and deal with it. But there was an immediate relapse, and Cake Stand started warping in ways I had never seen before. Something was obviously very wrong, but what?  I made another round of stands, and no matter how careful I was, how I babied Cake Stand along,  how many years of knowledge I apply to the making of these dastardly things, Cake Stand has continued to find ways to fuck up.

I opened the kiln the other day and both Nikki and I were so happy, a perfect white cake stand with little green birds!  So beautiful!  We lifted it out and it took us both a few beats to realize the entire stand was cracked in half, across the plate and all the way down the base.  There's my boyfriend, trying to act sober and telling me he's going to go have coffee with his sponsor, and then getting arrested in a bar fight an hour later.

When I looked at the row of cracked stands, I went into my codependent pattern: I thought about my week ahead, and I pictured myself bent over the wheel, going through a box or two of clay, throwing another round of stands, delicately trying to manipulate them into perfection.  The thought made me feel bored, constrained, grumpy.  I wasn't even angry, just passively accepting that my upcoming week would once again be spent nursing the boyfriend, calling his boss to say he can't come to work because he has the flu, and putting aside all of my own plans. Then I had another thought.  I thought, "I can break up with Cake Stand" I thought, "I have three orders right now, I can just refund them, and walk away." I thought, "Wow, who knows what I could make if I didn't have to spend so much time taking care of Cake Stand."

 Maybe I need some therapy, because after I took down every listing for cake stands on Etsy and my website, I immediately started thinking about a new Cake Stand.  This New Cake Stand will be different, it won't be able to do the things Old Cake Stand did because it will have a new design, a new look, and new production method. It will be different this time, I just know it!


11 comments:

  1. I guess little sister is going to have to beg for one before you completely lose your mind and stop making them for real.

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  2. Will there be any 'new' cake stands with birds? Also, I'm glad that you're still going to be making cake stands in some form. I'd always promised myself a cakestand from you, and the thought of you not making ANY before I had the money to get one made my heart sink SO low!

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  3. I think that is a really good idea. I swore off of cake stands for years, and have now changed the way I make them, too. Good luck!

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  4. This sounds very oddly like my mom and dad, haha!

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  5. So, if we hear the sound of pottery smashing on the walls, we'll assume it's REALLY over?! I hope this one treats you better than the last~

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  6. And I just accepted my first order for one. Cake Stand told me that you don't understand him, you quit believing in him long ago. He said all he needed was a new potter who wouldn't freak out over the tiniest of transgressions. I'm coming over to get his wardrobe and that collection of whiskey bottles he swears are only props for his whiskey cake mood board.

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  7. Will you still be making your adorable cupcake stands? PLEASE say YES!

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  8. Chantel, I'm trying to figure out how to incorporate bird into the new design, so stay tuned.

    Lee, it figures that Cake Stand would try to blame me instead of taking responsibility, so you can HAVE IT! Just don't come cryin' to me when it goes bad on you too! ;)

    And Jennifer, the cupcake stands are whole different animal, very easy to make. So the answer is yes.

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  9. I'll keep stalking/drooling over your wares, looking for more birds. :-)

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  10. I had serious problems with Cake Stand when I first dated him but eventually we worked out our problems and now we're just friends.

    I'm sure you'll work through it too!

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