Sunday, September 13, 2009


Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
preserving the last of this summer's peaches and running have been what I've been up to. My pottery-making has stunk, and rather than report constant struggles and failures, I've stayed out of this space and in my kitchen. But I've been frustrated by glaze failures- entire kiln loads need to be reglazed and fired, because no matter how much I mix the glazes, what I add to them, or how smoothly I apply them, they come out streaky. I try really hard not to be a perfectionist, but I want my work to be consistent. Work from this week hasn't made the grade. The few pieces that I did think were good enough to send out got complaints. Swell.

My throwing has been Craptastic. My arms are beginning to hurt again, but I think that's from what I'm knitting more than pottery work. But if my arms are hurting, I can't throw for more than 45 minutes a day. Not much time to get things done there. I managed 20 egg cups and some butter bells this week. Not the best way to build up inventory. I think the solution is to put away the knitting.

I got a new mixing tool for my drill that promised to mix everything more quickly and smoothly. I had hopes that this would help solve my glazing problems. It did mix quickly. All over the carport. I lost 1/4 of a gallon of new expensive glaze to the carport floor. I wanted to cry about it all and quit pottery-making entirely by Friday.

The single good pottery-related thing this week: some ceramic icons for the Martyrs of Memphis celebration this weekend (those did turn out well, happily, but Sister Constance is with me whenever these works are concerned- everything goes smoothly, and for that I am very thankful).

So I give you peaches. We picked more than 40 lbs on Labor Day. I canned, pureed, froze, dried peaches all week. And made splendid peach sangria out of the leftover syrup from canning. The plain syrup is all gone, but I have two 8 oz jars packed full of basil and peach syrup for later. Pottery- no progress. Peaches- a dwindling pile of fresh, a growing stack of preserved food. Yeah, that's what I'll focus on.

I'll get back to pottery this week. Much glazing to do, more throwing. Figuring out some different (safer- for my lungs) ways to do my speckled egg glaze (so far these experiments have been failures. I have another idea or two up my sleeve, but essentially, I want to avoid breathing in particulates. I don't need work-related lung cancer) . Better mixing (maybe a slower drill? My drill is eons old and has two speeds: off or in a blur). More tinkering with chemical additions to make glazes less streaky, because that streaking thing is not working for me. Less beating myself up about not producing "perfect" work. I am not a machine. I am not a factory. One customer complaint should not negate a dozen happy customers. No more peaches. More running. A better week ahead.


Mama Urchin said...

Our pastor's sermon this week was about the power of words. He said to remember that one bad word can negate a half-dozen kind ones in the recipients mind.

I for one am glad you aren't a machine. And all the pieces I have from you are perfect, not because they are necessarily that way technically, but because you made them with love in your heart, and that makes everything better.

amy h said...

We use one of those drills at the clay guild I go to, and the sensitive trigger seems to be essential to not making a big mess. (And even then I really have to be careful.) Get a new drill for sure!

Leila said...

I'm sorry you're having a rough time! Hang in there. You're peaches are certainly beautiful anyway!

erica said...

How frustrating for you on the pottery part, but the peaches look delish! Try to be kind to yourself even when someone else isn't. And many hopes for a less frustrating week ahead!

Jessica said...

I often go through series of stinky crafty times where everything I make rots. Then it flips around to a series of perfection. Soon, friend! Until then, peaches are the way to go. Canned with sugar are my favorite midwinter snack.

Beegirl said...

Your peaches look heavenly!

There is nothing better than hand made pottery. The love of the artists hands caressing the shape. That is perfection. I'd take a bowl made with love than a machine made bowl any day of the week! Hang in there!