I love starting a new piece. Whether it's thrown or sculpted or slab, it's just clay. I pick it up and move it around listening, feeling, wondering. I have no expectations. I'm just exploring and improvising with textures and forms until the piece surfaces into reality.
Somewhere in there, something happens.
It becomes a vase or a bowl or a jar. Then I work with it adding colors on top of colors and textures on top of textures. I put it in the kiln to set one set of colors. Out it comes, cools off and gets another set of colors.
I love all of this but there comes a time when the end is near.
Glazing is not my kind of fun. It takes mixing and measuring and careful attention to get the glaze just right. There are all the usual chemistry requirements to make a proper solution with the right viscosity to achieve an even glossy glaze that people expect in a functional piece of ceramics.
Then there is the mess, drips, equipment to set up, use and clean up after. With my studio set up this means two separate rooms across my house. That means lugging of buckets back and forth from my utility room to my studio and back again. Towels are everywhere and even then, drips abound. So there are counters and floors to wash and mop.
Loading the kiln and crossing my fingers.
Kiln loading is a logistical puzzle that is both nerve racking and intriguing. It's a challenge to get a wide variety of pieces in one load and I'm always glad when it all fits, finally.
Closing the lid and turn on the kiln is hard, because it's time to let go. I have to put them in the fire and hope for the best. Will they crack? Will the glaze cover evenly and smoothly? Will the colors meld together? Will the jar lids come apart?
These pieces that started as nothing but clay have become something.
I'm attached to them, to their shapes and colors and their future. Now all I can do is wait. And hope.