Timing is everything, they say. And, while I may disagree with the everything part, I do believe that it is really important. For instance, I met my husband because we walked through the door of a gallery at the same time. A conversation ensued and thirty-two years later the conversation continues. I often think that if I had stopped to tie my shoe or if he had lingered another thirty seconds over the drink he was having with friends, we wouldn’t have met. How different our lives might have been. Of course, by the same logic, if I had tied and he had lingered, we might still have met walking through that door.
But what I am really getting at here is the difference of how time is spent, how different it is in quality, when involved in the processes of making. I’m used to the long periods of tedious, repetitive work it takes to make a basket. I know what to do with that time. Music, conversation, tv, daydreaming, swearing…all good time-fillers. While drawing, I get lost in time. There is a continual conversation going on between my hands, the materials and the marks being made. It’s a constant loop that obscures the feeling of time’s passing.
But this clay thing is different. While I have my hands on the clay, the feeling is like drawing. There is a constant feedback loop going on between material and hands. The trimming and finishing are more like coiling, mechanical and sometimes tedious. And then…it…all…stops. You put the object you have formed with your own hands on a shelf, waiting for someone else to fire it. You wait. And maybe you wait some more. It’s out of your hands, literally and figuratively. That’s the hard part, especially when you are unable to anticipate what is going to happen and seeing the results is excruciatingly important. I’m having a hard time getting used to that.
On the other hand, the wait heightens the excitement of seeing the work coming out of the kiln. There is no moment of grand drama in basketry or drawing, no moment when the transformation of materials into object is magically revealed. It’s more a matter of , “Hmmmmm…yes…well, I guess it’s done.” But that moment of revelation in ceramics is a high price to pay for the wait, for what seems like a waste of time.
The images here are of pieces that have put on the shelf for firing. I’ll let you know how they turn out. After the wait.