Friday, September 22, 2006

Mistakes are not always bad

While clay can be very forgiving in that you can smash a bad piece of wet clay back to its beginnings and start all over, it can also be a hard taskmaster.

Put too much weight in the wrong spot and everything under will collapse. That's actually how I started what I call my smash pots. I had a wonderful shape going and a design firmly in mind. I was so wrapped up in the design that I forgot that the clay had its own properties and 'mind.' About halfway through, the pot started to listen to gravity and it began slowly settling.

I usually know to give a piece some support but for some reason I must have been so single-minded that I neglected a basic and lost the shape.

My first inclination was to try to prop it up so I could continue, but as I did I saw that it wasn't structurally sound. There were weak spots and a few beginning tears that showed me it was not a good idea to try to recover the piece. I was frustrated (with myself) so I stopped the propping process and took a break. After all, the pot wasn't going anywhere.

After a bit of lunch, I came back in, looked at the pot across the room and liked it. It had a wonderful shape of its own making and thus began my smash pots.

Now I make them deliberately. Most times I let them take their own direction, sometimes I direct. Sometimes I end up completely smashing them and starting over.

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