It's getting close to one of my biggest shows of the year, (Ceramic Showcase on May 1,2,3 at Portland's Memorial Coliseum) and I'm in a hurry to finish everything up. But I can't. Because I work in porcelain. And if there's one thing I've learned about working in porcelain it's this: don't rush it.
Don't push it. Be patient.
Patience is not my comfort zone. I like creation, action and results. Porcelain, on the other hand, likes calm creation, waiting and slow drying. But what happens when I have a deadline? That depends.
If I get in a hurry-up mindset and throw or build quickly then try to get the piece to dry fast, I get cracks. The top might topple. Or the mask flattens out. If I play with patience and plan ahead, my porcelain pleases me with a solid surface, strength and no cracks.
Hurry up and wait. That's the true mantra of porcelain.
Right now, I have several shelves of porcelain pieces drying. With no show deadline looming, I'd be letting them dry slowly in their own sweet time. With the show creeping up day by day, I find myself in my studio, standing in front of these shelves, peeking, prying, testing and hoping the pieces are ready for a bisque fire.
"Today?" I ask the clay.
"Not yet," is the answer.
Truth is I have many good finished pieces. I have more than enough for the show, right now. But there are a few of these new pieces I want to bring to the show. But I also know that if I rush it, I'll probably lose them in the kiln process.
There is that word of the year. Again. Do you have to be patient to have faith? Or can you have faith and still be impatient? I don't know.
I do know that porcelain needs its own time to develop. Maybe we all do. Maybe I do, too. Maybe that's why I love working in porcelain. Ok, but maybe not today.