Wednesday, February 27

New firing and new frustrations

Every time I fire and every time I open the kiln I have new hope. I want to believe things are going to be better this time, that somehow I have learned enough from the previous firings that I'm going to open the lid and angels will sing. Usually the most I hear from them is off-key moaning. The very first test firing I did I had several fantastic results. I thought-eureka!! I am so lucky!! Many struggle for years to achieve the results I have achieved in just one small test firing (my test kiln is .8 cubic feet-a lot of excitement for such a small space). The reality was that those tests, miraculously beautiful on my little 2x3" test tiles looked dull, drab, boring and lifeless on my pots. It was a real awakening to the work ahead.

In each firing I often have weeks worth of work. Weeks of throwing, trimming, handle attachments and multi-step glazing, and in no firing to date have I really loved more than 10% of the pots inside. I know as a potter not to have preconceived ideas of what to expect. Despite the best planning the kiln has it's own ideas. But still, I have hopes. And so I grasp at the little guys that grab my heart. I cling to their beauty as reason to move on. I examine and analyze them like I am trying to figure out how to split an atom: why did this work on this pot? but not on this one? Why is this pot so beautiful, and yet this one glazed EXACTLY the same is . . . just . . . plain . . . ugly.? And I still don't know. I will enter the next firing with the same hope and the same reservations. I will put those beautiful pots into the kiln and say goodbye because I know I may never see them with the same beauty again.

Pots above from firing on 2/25/2008. The beautiful little guys, who are still beautiful.

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