It's been tough the last few days. Maybe some of you have had periods like this where you've made plenty of pots and were excited about them and then something happened and you had to scrap them. It's been especially frustrating the last few days because I've had to scrap three pots that I really liked. I'm also frustrated because I'm trying to make a few really good pots that I can submit to a show at the Honolulu Museum of Art that's sponsored by the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce. It's a juried show, it's hard to get in, and the deadline is August 7. I used about 10 pounds of Death Valley for one of the pots, and I'd taken about two and a half hours to carve it. The carving turned out well, but I felt the base was too heavy so I took out some excess clay using a trimming tool. Guess what I forgot to do? Compress my clay again. So what happened when it dried? A nice big "S" crack. I've only had one other piece with an "S" crack, and this had to be the second one. Had to break the whole pot down. The second was a closed form I had made with Black Mountain. I really liked the way it had turned out, but when I looked at it this morning it had formed an "S" crack at the top, not the bottom. Aaaargh! I still have so much to learn!! The worst was the third piece. I had thrown a large bowl with Coleman Porcelain and was getting ready to carve waves around the top edge when I remembered that my daughter Jenny had borrowed my Exacto knife and hadn't returned it yet. Curses! So I did some fluting on the side which I didn't like at all. Then I decided to take another approach and carve out the fluting and thin out the walls. I really liked what I was seeing and was almost done after two hours when I reached up like a clumsy oaf and knocked a big chunk out of the very thin wall. I was stunned. I just sat there looking at the gaping hole I'd made in the side of the pot. "You have got to be kidding me," was all I could say. I couldn't knock the whole thing down all at once. Instead, I just broke off one chip after another until it was lying there in a heap. I picked up a few of the chips and looked at them. "I like the carving on this one," I said to myself. When I was done, all of it went into the recycled clay bucket so I can try, try again. There's my sad tale of woe. Why don't you share some of your sad clay stories? It'll help to get it off your chest. See, I feel better already!
I began potting in January of 2012. Because I'm so new to potting, I think I understand the challenges of beginning potters and hope this blog will be encouraging to them and a source of helpful information and comment. I hope you'll join the conversation!