Firing up the kiln is always exciting and scary and this week was no exception. It’s a bisque load which is only the first firing. This is the firing I use to set the first layers of color and dry out the clay. Hopefully all the pieces will make it through this phase in one piece with no cracks. But this is only the first of two to three more firings.
Next, depending on the piece, I add more color or a color wash. In most cases, I put the pieces in another bisque firing to set the color before I do the final glaze fire. But other pieces get added color lightly applied, then a special clear coat for the final stage.
Finishing while Firing.
While my kiln was doing the first part of the process on these new pieces, I was finishing up on several pieces. Finally.
I admit I hate finishing. I don’t like endings in my work because I love the process of creating. But the other reason is good old fashioned fear of failure.
Questions and self doubt and past mistakes creep in like fog on a dark night.
What was I thinking? Do I even like this piece? What if it turns out ugly and not even close to what I had in mind? What if I hate it and everyone else does too? Hey, I was asked to leave a gallery because I changed my color palette and they didn’t like it.
Because these two pieces are both sculptural, I get especially nervous. Have you ever had people come into your studio, stop in front of your work, start pointing and talking? Then when you come up to see if you can answer questions they tell you they know all about it. Thank You. Then they leave. Or they say, well it’s not very pretty is it? Or wherever did you get an idea like that? Yeah, maybe I have a reason to be nervous.
Is it art? It is what it is.
I love clay and color and texture. I love creating bowls and mugs and vases and plates that are colorful and textural that people can use everyday. I also love letting my hands tell a story or describe a character that I imagine. My only problem is that my hands don’t always manifest my imagined image exactly.
Things happen on the way from my heart to my hands. Sometimes there is a breath of beauty I could not have thought of before. Sometimes, there is tension and misinterpretation of a language I am always learning to speak.
When it comes down to the end, what’s done is done. It is what it is.
And it’s my job at this point to let it go.