Pottery Ponderings

The pottery studio was in much better shape when I left it yesterday than it was when I arrived. About a dozen of us spent several hours scouring it from top to bottom, scraping layers of dried clay from every surface, wiping equipment and furniture with wet sponges, and mopping the floors, conducting a deep cleaning that should have been done midway through the semester.

We paused for the potluck lunch about 11:30 a.m.  I made a large batch of beef and pork chili, kept warm in my large slow-cooker; it was well-received.  The only other crock-pot type dish on the table was a superb chicken paprikash made by an elderly German woman who, she says, has been enrolled in pottery classes for more than twenty years.  She also made spaetzle to go with the chicken paprikash.  An elderly guy who walks with a cane brought a tray of breaded and baked chicken breast pieces. Most of the other food was stuff which required little on the part of the people who brought it; store-bought sandwich trays, popcorn drizzled with chocolate, Domino’s pizza, and such stuff.

There seemed to be a correlation between the amount of effort expended by the potluck participants and the amount of effort expended in the clean-up process.  People who invested time and energy in preparing food seemed to be the ones who also invested time and energy in the clean-up process.  I say that not only because I participated fully in both endeavors; I say it because I think it’s true, though the correlation was not perfect.  My table-mate for the semester bought a sandwich platter that she purchased at a grocery store, but she did work hard at the clean-up.  (She said she had intended to make sandwiches, but was dissuaded by her mother or aunt who had just cleaned the kitchen and insisted it not be disturbed with a sandwich-making frenzy.)

When the work was complete, I loaded all the clay I had not used during the semester and lugged it to my car.  Along with the clay, I loaded into a box my tools and the pottery pieces that will not be used in determining my grade.  The only things left for me to retrieve on Friday afternoon are two mugs, two slab pots, two pinch pots, two coils pots, and one raku sculpture that the instructor will assess to determine the grade she give me for the class. My work does not deserve a good grade, though I do not really care what grade I get, as the grade is meaningless to me. Some of the “real” students care about it, though.  But other “real” students don’t seem to care much, as they did not bother to finish the assigned tasks.

I’ve signed up for Pottery II next semester, so I’ll be spending Wednesday mornings (beginning in mid-January) throwing clay on the wheel, something I did not get to do this semester.  Having made a number of slab pots this semester, though, I have finally come to rather like doing slab work.  I won’t have as much time to make slab pots next semester, unless I spend more time in the studio or spend time working on my own studio at home. The problem with the latter, of course, is the danger of leather-hard pots shattering as I lug them in my car to the studio to be fired.  We shall see, shan’t we?



About John Swinburn

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