Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Road Not Taken

The Road Not Taken
I walked into town today to get some groceries past the elementary and high schools and wondered how my life would be different if I had stayed the 30 years as a high school teacher to get my pension.  There were some pretty nice cars in the school parking lots and I thought of how I could have salted some big bucks away for retirement. I too could be sitting at McDonald’s each morning with the rest of the seniors shooting the shit. Instead I’m in the studio making work, talking to myself and whining to you about my lack of pension.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost
What is the difference that makes a difference????- Don Pilcher
Ask that of your pots.
Ask that of your friendships.
Ask that of your love.
Ask that of your dinner.
So I ask if I had taught high school would I  be making the pots I’m making today?  The answer is most certainly not! Most days I think that has been worth this less travelled road.
Truth is I’m comfortable and as long as my hands move and mind is working at more than 10% of it’s potential I will be just fine.
Here are some plates I fired in my cousin Brenda’s kiln. She crash cools so I don’t get the nice rutile crystals but other than that they look pretty sexy. I prefer to clam cool for the development of crystals. Same glaze, same firing, different cool and voila a whole different look.
Everyone in those days used stoney white. A matt white glaze with black heads like a teenager’s nose.  Fire the stoney and clam you got matte with pimples. Fire it and crash and you got white shiny.  I’m in my third childhood so I like the crystals, zits, and blackheads.
Crash: At the end of the firing leave the burner ports, damper and peeps open and let the kiln drop to at least 1900F before clamming up.



Clam: At the end of the firing close the damper, the peeps and the burner ports and let cool slowly.

2 comments:

Thom Wirt said...

Hey Old Man, Glad to hear you're finally accepting what is.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tony, I tried to stay in education long enough to get the golden pension but after 17 years I quit to be a full time potter. I just qualified for a teeny pension and I took it...not enough to live on but enough to provide a safety net...nice to have for certain. Pretty sure I would have serious health issues now if I had stayed just to get the full pension...betterpoor and healthy, that's my motto, lol!