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A little less than a happy high
Glazing is nerve-wracking for me.

I’ve been trying to figure out why this is, and I think what it comes down to is that I feel like it is the part of the process that I have the least control over. Sure, I can look at the glaze palette and choose colors I think might work, but there’s no guarantee that the latest mix will reproduce what’s on the test tile, that the kiln will heat the exact same way, that something next door won’t drip, explode, or otherwise mess with my piece. Leaving something on the glaze shelf is leaving its completion in the hands of someone else and to processes that I’ve only just begun to understand. That makes me crazy

This is all very odd since I rather like the chaos inherent in the raku process. I think there, I expect things to be unpredictable and surprising. Admittedly, my experience with it was minimal, but I had a hand in every step of the process. I guess what it comes down to is that if I’m out of control, I want to be present as it happens. Being out of control and feeling like a spectator just feeds my sense of helplessness.

Class last night was a slow one for me. I found myself unfocused enough that I made a careless mistakes.
One led to my having to wash off a piece I had glazed, another to my torquing a hump right off the wheel head. I even managed to cut away too much of the donut as I tried to turn it into a vase. After a dicey repair, that vase has gone to bisque in a not-as-impressive-as-I-had-hoped form, and I left a pot with what might be an odd color combination on the glaze shelf.


I’ll probably go back on Thursday and Saturday just to get some time in before the studio closes down for two weeks. (They’re doing an extensive cleaning before the next round of classes start.)

Current Mood: restless restless

9 comments or Leave a comment
skipalways From: skipalways Date: August 20th, 2003 07:52 am (UTC) (Link)

I hate it when I torque a hump right off the wheel head

Dude, you've been doing this stuff for how many months now? Have you even been doing this a year? Of course you're not going to have everything down pat and things won't turn out exactly as you've hoped.

But that's the joy of creating.

I've never done pottery or sculpture, but I've dabbled in just about every other creative medium I can think of. Some of my best work didn't turn out how I had intended, and that's the beauty of it. Just because you want something one way doesn't mean it was meant to be that way. I truly believe that when you're creating the creation takes on a life of its own and it's not going to keep its personality hidden. It wants to be brought out into the light and shine! So that's what it does.

It's all about happy accidents. This is supposed to be a stress reliver for you, don't go getting all wound up on me now! Just go with the flow and enjoy it no matter what it turns out to be. And 'sides, if you don't like it I got an apartment I'm moving into in a week and I need stuff. :)

How was the pot luck btw? Any gazpacho?
komos From: komos Date: August 20th, 2003 08:59 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: I hate it when I torque a hump right off the wheel head

(That sounds dirty...)

Trust me, I don't expect perfection or even predictable results. I just don't like feeling like so much of a spectator after being that close to the piece through every other step of the process. And even that feeling isn't consistent. I just had an off-night, and that being the case, I ran with that energy and experienced it fully.

I've said this to others before you... if there's something you think you'd like, just let me know and I'll see what I can put together. I'll add it to the list.

The food was tasty, even though there was no cold soup. And you'll be happy to know that Kim brought pizza.

skipalways From: skipalways Date: August 20th, 2003 09:04 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: I hate it when I torque a hump right off the wheel head

That Kim, she's a good one. So how long do you toss a pizza in a kiln for?

Learn to embrace that spectator thing. Don't think of it as giving something up, but that you're watching something you created grow. You've done your bit and now it's its turn.

I could draw some parallels (sp) but I haven't chatted in depth with you in a bit, so I wouldn't want to miss the mark ... espcially in a public forum such as this.
komos From: komos Date: August 20th, 2003 09:20 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: I hate it when I torque a hump right off the wheel head

She got it at a joint across the way. Didn't go anywhere near the kiln (which I think would probably have turned 'golden and melty' into a rigid black discus.

I think I need to go somewhere where I can be more involved in the process. And I need to get my head more into 'letting go.' It's ironic that I'm better able to do that when I am more focused and centered.

skipalways From: skipalways Date: August 20th, 2003 09:38 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: I hate it when I torque a hump right off the wheel head

Well if the kiln did ever kill a pizza you could probably glaze it all sorts of colors and create a new art form.

As to the letting go thing, well of course you can do it easier when you're more focused and centered. It's at that time when we're okay with ourselves and more giving. It's that black pit of unfocusedness that we get all clingy and don't wanna give anything up. I think this is a universal truth of all creators.

My buddy's been writing a novel for two years now (and he's almost done) but he gets so unfocused that he doesn't wanna share or talk about it. When he's on his game though we all get a delightful insight on this fantastic project of his.

I think the key is just not caring. I don't mean you should become a coldhearted bastard, but if you care too much it's like hugging that cute fluffy bunny till it's dead.

Of course I've had nothing to do this past week so all sorts of thoughts are flowing out all disjointed, so it could be that you should just ignore me :D
transcribe From: transcribe Date: August 20th, 2003 07:59 am (UTC) (Link)
My mother is a ceramic artists as well, though she'd 'tsk' and shake her head at me using the word 'artist'. None the less, she is, like you, and constantly complains about the same thing: glazing. I realized it was her *need* for control that was making her crazy. While she can make the shape she wants, she can't finish it the way she wants, which is such a unique part of the ceramics process. Perhaps sooner than in other medium's, you have to let the piece go, ripped away from you like a baby who is still hungry. It must be frustrating. My only advice to you is the same I give to her: make your own glazes, or learn how. I can't imagine feeling that out of control over a major step of the process. Even if the same place doesn't offer a glazing class, maybe a studio around there does?

Cheers to you! Glad you are enjoying the class, aside from that aspect.
komos From: komos Date: August 20th, 2003 08:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks much, and... well, just wow.

I do really enjoy it, and sometimes I even enjoy the crazy falling feeling I get with glazing. It reminds me a little of a first kiss... the type where you're not sure if the time is right or if you're the only one feeling that magnetic pull to the other person's lips. I just wasn't feeling the magic last night.

You've actually captured the problem quite well. Unfortunately, this studio is really more geared for the hobbyist and just can't accommodate students being that involved with mixing and firing. It's just something I have to adapt to as long as I remain at BCAE.

Mudflat, on the other hand, is a little more robust in its instruction, integrating kiln-use and glaze mixing/testing into its programs. It's a little easier to do with the longer classes (14 weeks) and a focused mission. It's one of the many things that has me seriously considering switching venues.
chefxh From: chefxh Date: August 20th, 2003 08:02 am (UTC) (Link)


Raku! I love raku!

I bought a raku vase (and a blue glazed bowl) twelve years ago from a potter named Lilly on the street in Tucson... both are among my favorite objects.
komos From: komos Date: August 20th, 2003 08:33 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: OOOOoooooooo

Heh... I think I know who you're talking about. My folks have one of her pieces in their place in Scottsdale.
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