Last month a friend contacted me about making a special gift for a colleague she admired who was retiring. For the past while, this graceful lady had been preparing for her retirement and posted this passage from Ellen Goodman's retirement column over her desk:
There's a trick to the Graceful Exit. It begins with the vision to recognize when a job, a life stage, a relationship is over -- and to let go. It means leaving what's over without denying its validity or its past importance in our lives. It involves a sense of future, a belief that every exit line is an entry, that we are moving on, rather than out. The trick of retiring well may be the trick of living well.
She asked if I could make a cup with some of this text on it; I immediately said yes. I'd been wanting to play with text in my work a little more (I still want to play with text a little more. What else would one expect of a liberal arts major?) and and a little more loosely than I had incorporated it previously. I love my calligraphy-style text in my hope cups, but that didn't work so well here (I tried and got a large hand cramp!). So I threw a few mugs, trimmed them, and sat down with a ball-point pen and started writing. I was really tickled with how the text flowed around the cup and how tactile the piece was once it had dried a bit.
I coated the entire cup with a mixture of water and raw, dark clay I dug from the sandbars in the Mississippi River a few years ago. I'm not sure where that big bag of clay is, but I have a jar of slip that I made from it that I keep with my underglazes. After the slip dried, I wiped it off and fired it. Then, earlier this week, I coated it in glossy clear glaze and fired it again. This morning, when I unloaded the kiln, I was really happy with it. The look is softer than I imagined it would, some words are slightly hazy, others crystal clear, but it feels just marvelous in your hands. I'm really tickled with this and can't wait to repeat it on other dishes. I hope that the recipient is pleased with it when she opens it later this afternoon!
It is a gorgeous spring day here- I've been glazing and shipping today and am looking forward to trimming pots I threw on Thursday tomorrow. I'll be back later this week with 2 more pitchers.
Have a nice week, y'all!