Monday, October 10, 2011

Thank you

Thank you .
Thank you for your support, your kind words and letting me know that you read my rambling thoughts.

Yesterday we unloaded the small gas kiln that I was thinking about giving a real name until she acted up and threw about a half a load of seconds our way.
I am back to thinking of her like a wild horse that still needs taming, no apples for you my pretty or carrots for that matter.
Who the heck knows what happened with the firing- since the last two firings had been really good.
The wood ash glaze just came out all cratered and just, just wrong.
Now before you ask if this was a new batch of ash the answer is no.
All glazes had been used for the last serveral glaze loads.
The top part of the kiln was okish, new word.
The shelf just under the crown was darn good and then things just went to hell in a hand basket really fast.
I could barely deal with unloading it.
And Mark and I were both puzzled.
Now this is where things get tricky.
How to talk to your partner, who is also the person you have been in business with for 29 years and married to for... well never mind.... but you understand the delicate situation we are in when we try to discuss what went wrong.
Here is what I try to tell myself.
Leave work at work.
Leave it behind and walk away.
That is what we did- we unloaded the kiln- tossing a few pots at trees and then we drove away for the day.
Today- we get up and start again.
That is what most potters do.
Do we really ever figure out what it is we do?
Some days we hit it on the nail and some days we miss.
Is there any potter out that fool enough to think there are no mishaps in this business?
I love hearing how people make pots to relax.
I have long past the relaxed stage as this is our business and not a past time for us.
But deep breaths and when I feel the need to relax there are others ways to do that.
( like a trip to Cape Cod.)

Today I loaded the electric kiln, Mark made pots and we resume what we know.
Those seconds are catching my eye now again but right now they can keep their distance until I have the time to replay the events.
Again- looking forward is the best way to deal with the mistakes of the past.


Shortstuff said...

Aaack! Bummer. You are far more patient than I. One lousy kiln load and I'd be packing up my wheel and quitting. You and Mark get the patiently enduring and perservering award. love you.

Rob Addonizio from Taiko-Earth said...

Sorry for your frustration! If it is any consolation, i think your pots look fantastic from what I can see in the photo.
FWIW, whenever one of my pots/glazes don't work the way I want, I mount an attack to find out the reason why. Sometimes it consumes me for days!
Take care,

cindy shake said...

Shows you what I know -I thought the photo looked FAB! e-gads, how frustrating, not sure I would be able to drive away and not want to debate it, figure it out, trouble shoot it etc. all till my man kicked me out of the house or at least our bedroom -ha!! Glad you both have a nice system :) and even more glad to hear you can move FORWARD.

Tracey Broome said...

I have got to where I go for 50% success these days. If I get 2 good barns, two end up in the trash. I feel ya, girl!
It's the moon.... so many wacky things have been happening this week, stars are out of line.
Here's my bummer week: I picked up Wesley Saturday and on the way down, I started feeling a cold coming on. I have been sick the whole time she has been here. She leaves tomorrow, and I am just now feeling a tiny bit better :(
Hugs to you and Mark and yes an award to you for the "stick to it" you both have xoxox
ps: I agree with everyone the photo looks pretty good to me.....

Linda Starr said...

What a bummer, these gas firings are truly an art to get them right, much more than electric. I still have some of my hand built pieces sitting in the cabinet cause they cracked or split and I was so disappointed after all that work. Now at least I have a few good pieces to take the sting away a little. I know how you feel, 29 years you both must be so well suited together to work and live so closely. With the losses ceramic pieces should be worth millions.

John Bauman said...

Woman, I feel and live your pain. I have lost more pots in the past two years than I have lost in the previous 30.

If it isn't bad clay it's new glaze chemicals. If it isn't new glaze chemicals, it's the day's weather. If it isn't the day's weather, it's glaze thickness (even though the glaze was faithfully measured with a hydrometer). Or it's bad judgement of what my notes meant by "cone 10 should be at 2 o'clock" (so, is that 2 o'clock or is that closer to 3?....and should I adjust since this firing has taken an extra half hour?)

And there's a new level of determines a "second" -- a perfectly good pot that still isn't consistent enough to sell via internet (where considerations of shipping add a layer of iffyness to the transaction)

I figure that a good year is a year in which I only contribute $2,000 worth of pots to the Satan of the shard heap.

How many other "industries" could continue with the psychological impact that we live with -- the psychological impact that "done" isn't "done"? We live with the constant weight on our shoulders that it's only AFTER we've put all the elbow grease AND heart & soul into a piece that we open the kiln and find out that we failed after all.

The exact same amount of overhead goes into our failed pots as into our successful pots. And it becomes overwhelming at times. Overwhelming and backbreaking.

So we stand in front of those just open kilns and play the delusional "oh, this one's not so bad" game...

...but our stomachs tell us it IS that bad and we could, at that very moment, vomit without aid of a finger down our throats.

Pottery is not for the faint of heart.

cookingwithgas said...

Pottery is not for the faint of heart- how true this statement is and I have so many thoughts about what you all have posted that I don't know if i can gather them into complete sentences right now.
But John what you have written hits things home to me/us. The past few years we have also experienced bad clay, new or bad chemicals and the thoughts of why do we continue to beat our selves with gas firings.
I know the cloud will lift and we will run back to what we know.
And I also know things go wrong no matter what fuel is used.
My thoughts as of late are more in line with- should have gone to work and done this for fun....
Thank you all! It is a hard way to make a living!

Kings Creek Pottery said...

Yea...what't the matter with us?! But then there is that day you get the awesome firing, or the spectacular pot and fall in love all over again! We are eternal optimists~? Or just plain insane ;)
Frankly, I am glad to be a part of this crazy community, stumbling and bumbling along- sharing the pain and the joys!
Sending you a big cyber (((HUG)))!!

Hollis Engley said...

I love it when people say, "It must be so relaxing to throw pots on the wheel. I've always wanted to do that." Cracks me up. I love it, really, I do. But the whole process is not about ... whatever the hell it is that some people seem to think it is. You should hear the things I say when things go wrong at the wheel. No, never mind, you shouldn't. And I've been known to throw to the concrete floor (at great velocity) pots from a bad firing. Amazing how satisfying that can be. And how messy. So, I get it, Meredith. Throwing pots at trees is a fine idea.

Laurie said...

I, for one, am thankful you do what you do. Bringing a bit more beauty into this world has got to be a good thing. And being able to drink out of a piece of your beauty is certainly a bonus! Glad you're taking deep breaths :o)

cookingwithgas said...

yea- what is the matter with us! and like you I am glad to be part of this but when life keeps handing you lemons you have to wonder if you should be making lemon aid and not POTTERY! and you know Hollis I know this well- if I want to relax a hot bath helps.
Laurie I just heart you!

ang walford said...

what a drama!!! hope you get it sorted for next firing and sort ya wee kiln out its a good'un!!!