Thursday, March 14, 2013

The week the wheel stopped.

It was so hard to resist. The pull of the wheel was so strong. But when the shelves in my studio are crowded with bisque ware and green ware and there’s no more room, it’s time to stop. Did I? No. I kept throwing anyway. But when my next day at the wheel yielded nothing but lumps of yuck, I knew it was time. Self-sabotage is a mean but wise teacher.

The bisque ware sitting on the shelves was calling to me. It wanted my attention. It wanted to be finished. And as much as I wanted to get it all finished, I wavered and waffled and waltzed all around it. Why? Because the decisions I make on each piece is final. And that’s not just a little intimating, it’s scary. I’ve put energy and time and love into the forming of these bowls, vases and cups. Procrastination is a wonderful way to avoid failure. Or so it seems at the time. But I know that not finishing is just as bad.

For the last two weeks, I’ve painted, stained and sanded. Every day, I planned to get more done than I actually did. It felt like a snail’s pace compared to the speed of wheel throwing. But as I took down one piece at a time and made those important design and finishing decisions, I felt a weight lifting.

Here’s a hand built vase in the green ware stage. You can see the actual leaves still attached.

Here it is after the bisque firing. Notice the leaves are gone because they burned off in the kiln.

Here it is after all the layers of oxides have been applied, washed off, and applied again.

Now along with the other bisque pieces, it’s ready for final firing. The rest of the pieces will get a clear glaze before the final firing, which I still need to do.

The wheel may have stopped for a week but my work didn’t. It just took on a different pace and a different place. But piece by piece, it all gets done. Why do I always forget that?

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