Oh, My Tiki, What Have I Done?

tiki tiki2Yesterday was to be a day of finish-up at the pottery studio.  A short stint, it was to be, of raku firing my hideous tiki head and glazing my last slab pot.  I got it done, but it was no short stint.  The teacher had a lot of raku to fire, but quite a number of students either couldn’t be there on Friday (Wednesday is the usual day) or opted not to give away their non-school day for the sake of having the experience of firing a raku piece.

In the spirit of generosity (and because I found it intriguing), I stayed well beyond getting my part done.  It wasn’t just me, either.  A few other students, including a woman in my first-semester pottery class and a couple of people I’d not met from other classes, stayed on to help.  It was a four-hour affair; we finished up shortly after 5:00 PM.

The shots here, taken with my iPhone, don’t quite capture the size or scope of the travesty I caused with my hands in clay.  This beast was my fall-back position, after an abysmal failure in my effort to sculpt a reclining Buddha.

Buddha, who at my hand appeared to be the result of a tantrum by a dyslexic Mayan child, was generously spared the indignity of raku-fired permanence when I crushed and then stuffed his as-yet-undried-clay body back into a plastic bag, never to reach the stage of leather-hardness. That decision leaves quite a hunk of raku clay available for another project next semester, if I must, provided I can get the raku clay back into good condition, without air bubbles trapped inside.

I can’t help but wonder whether the transition from the serene, reclining Buddha (albeit a badly-crafted version that looked mentally deranged) to the searingly-angry tiki head might reflect my own sense of inner calm.

Next Wednesday is the last day of pottery class.  We’re having a pot-luck lunch (I am preparing chili), after which we’ll conduct a badly-needed cleaning of the pottery studio.  The teacher will then have a week to look at our sketch books, review our pottery output, and decide what grade to assign our efforts for the semester.  A week from next Wednesday, I’ll return to the studio to pick up my pottery and haul it home to find a place for permanent hiding display.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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