Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cracks, breaks and repairs: Lessons in clay and life.


Clay is tough and delicate. One day coils stick, slabs stay together and pots hold their shape perfectly. Other days, coils crack, slabs slump and pots break.

Sometimes, a cup looks perfect but breaks in the glazing process. I’ve had red glazes turn brown. Glazes crack, bubble and slide off the side of the bowl.



My gingko leaf bowl handles were tricky but they stayed on until it was time to bisque it. Then for some reason, one handle broke off. So, I put it back on again.


My big question is always, “Why?”

Is it because the weather is too dry or too wet? Is it because I’m working too slow or too fast? Is the kiln too hot or the glaze too thin? Questions need answers, don’t they?

Maybe not.

Maybe there’s no why but what. The what: clay today and the weather both inside me and out.

It’s accepting that life is like that: success and failure, strength and weakness. Sometimes things in life crack and break and need repair. Sometimes cracks and breaks need to be accepted as part of the process, as life. And letting myself see the beauty there, cracks and all.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

So right, I worked in a clay factory it was a small place to work so you saw the pieces through each process. The one rule you would find is that sometimes things just refuse to be made. You fight to fix and something else breaks you touch it up and then something else happens down the road and if it makes it to the kiln well it fires badly but the true test is when it makes it all the way but breaks in shipping. We learned that sometimes the clay just is not ready for the journey. Just like life sometimes your on the wrong journey and you have to break your path and go on a new one. Be well

Susan Gallacher-Turner and Mike Turner said...

"sometimes things just refused to be made"

Such wise and true words, Anonymous.
I wish you had left your true name so that I could visit your blog?

Yes, that was my point. That in life things have to break in order for you to find the new path.

Thanks for you thoughtful comment.