Saturday, May 20, 2017

Beautiful Scars

Yesterday I got this note from Beth Pitcher of the US. I love that name. How lucky is she? If she were a Canuck she would be Beth Jug and she could name her son Clay and her daughter Ima.
Beth's note: I want to buy a pitcher that ought represent you- so gnarly is preferred over pristine. A pitcher for a stokers heart. Process and not processed. If you have one with a story or a bad joke or an extraordinary Clennell handle so much the better. 
Cheers,
Beth Pitcher

Dear Beth: I like the idea of process and not processed. Throw away your sponges, your scrubbier and hide the 3 different grades of sandpaper.
During our crit yesterday Emma Smith commented that what she admired about my work was that it is casual without being messy with bits and pieces showing. Thanks Emma I l'll take that! They are there you just never noticed them and here's why.
If you wear a suit and tie to work a mustard stain looks pretty obviously out of place. When you wear ripped jeans and a tee shirt people think oh well that mustard stain has probably been there for days and if he isn't worried about it I ain't going to say a word. How do you make a mustard stain look intentional?
Now, Emma wears ripped jeans, so what's the problem? Early in your career you gotta show up in a suit before they will accept you in ripped jeans, a tee shirt and a mustard stain. I'm of course talking of your pottery not your attire. You gotta show us you can be formal before you show up for Casual Fridays and then stretch Casual Fridays to an entire career. 
Bricks were yesterdays shout out and today's is CLAY. Yesterday I phoned Jen Drysdale to ask what she thought of her pots from the firing. I know Jen well enough to know she was somewhat disappointed. Jen used a porcelain clay! If you like to throw soft clay, on a slow wheel, trim at cheese hard to almost soft butter, then porcelain is not the clay to use. If Jen uses my Helmer stoneware clay she rocks the kiln. 
Life leaves us with these beautiful scars that some of us learn are part of who we are and we show them in our work. When we are young we try to hide the scars. Most of my friends have an equal number of beautiful scars. 
A few years ago a woman friend of mine from another time ran into my daughter Robin and said " I guess I should ask the standard questions like are your married and do you have any children?" Robin answered "No, I am divorced and have no children!". My friend answered " So,you have lived!" The perfect answer. 
What is a life without scars? "Life ain't worth living if you don't get hurt". - The Strombellas
Here are a couple of pics from the firing. I went squirrel with an old press mold my aunt made in Art school at MacDonald College in Quebec in 1946.
This is a pic of The Cactus Lounge Flame Throwers firing team from this firing


minus " Energizer Wabbit Row"





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