[Clayart] Getting from here to there

Deborah Thuman debthuman at zianet.com
Thu Oct 13 10:36:11 EDT 2016


Making pots is a continuum. I didn’t start out willing to scrap a piece that was clearly going to turn out ugly, crappy, or unacceptable to me. I don't know anyone who did although I’m sure those folks exist. It took time for me to be able to look at a piece, know it wasn’t going to be good, and scrap it. It took time for me to reach the point where I knew that if I didn’t like the looks of a pot as I was building it, that pot wasn’t going to ever get prettier. Better to smoosh it up and make something else. Even after 11 years, it’s still difficult for me to scrap a piece of bone dry greenware that has a crack. Most of the time, the piece goes into reclaim. It just takes me a few days to get it there. 

Pieces that don’t make it through bisque - cracks, chips, chunks missing - become test tiles. What will I get if I use this glaze under that glaze? Grab a test piece and find out. If it’s ugly, I haven’t sacrificed a nice piece. If it’s pretty, I’ve kept glaze notes and I can repeat the process on a nice piece. A glaze that looks nice on a conventional test tile may not look so nice on a life-size bowl or mug. Who among us has never had the experience of seeing a lovely paint chip in the store, bought a gallon or so of the paint, painted the bathroom and discovered that lovely pain chip color is horrid when imposed on a whole room?  I’d rather find out I’ve got an olympic runner of a glaze on the inside of a test piece than on the outside of a nice piece. 

Pieces that were either test tile pieces or pieces that don’t make it through glaze firing will eventually become the crock garden. There’s enough stuff in the local landfill and I’d rather make something useful out of dead pots. 

Folks who are starting out haven’t gotten to the toss it because it’s never going to be right stage. They’ll get there - it just takes time. I’m on a couple quilt lists, and a fellow quilter once said we all have a crap quota. We have to make a certain number of bad quilts before we can make really good quilts. Potters also have crap quotas. They have to make a certain number of bad pots and broken pots before they can comfortably give up on a piece. It took me 15 years to make a decent looking mug. Anyone want to guess how many ugly mugs I’ve got in the cupboards? Right now, I’m working my way through teapot designs. I WILL get a non-piddling teapot. I just haven’t done it yet although I do have two pots from which one cannot pour water. I didn’t know it was possible to make such a pot. One is pretty - and if I sell it I’ll sell it as a non-functional pot. 

It’s just a crap quota and we’ve all got one. Or more. 

Deb Thuman
debthuman at zianet.com <mailto:debthuman at zianet.com>
https://debthumanblog.wordpress.com <https://debthumanblog.wordpress.com/>


You can’t have a light without a dark to stick it in. 
Arlo Guthrie





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