Sunday, June 13, 2010

Getting Messy Again

Greenware bowls, trimmed and ready for chop signatures

Messy wheel: Clay trimmings everywhere!

Wheel production started about three weeks ago. The ritual of beginning the pottery season is always the same. I neaten the area, get a warm bucket of water, wedge a zillion small balls of clay, and reintroduce my hands to throwing by making a slew of mini pots. By the end of the first weekend, and about seventy pots later, my hands were raw from grit, and my back a bit disgruntled. Ergonomics seem to pervade me when in the "zone".

Chris has aptly named the clay studio the "Pottery Cave". It is housed in the basement, cold, concrete walls, dark. Surprisingly, I don't mind this. Maybe it is because the studio at USM was similar, or maybe it is because I retain some sort of psychic connection to a past life in paleolithic times when I was a hunting and gathering cave dweller.

I haven't gotten too far with production yet, but now that I have my weekdays freed-up from teaching, I can concentrate on the functional pottery. Last weekend I jumped into bowls, trying out a few different shapes to get a feel for the forms again. I tried a couple new variations and am not sure where my like-level is with those yet. Yesterday I trimmed, which is my absolute favorite part of potting. I love to watch the shavings curl and fly, and to see the bowl take shape. I am always pushing the limit...can I shave off just a bit more? How far can I go without cutting through the pot? Sorta like playing chicken with revved-up streetcars in a back alley....except I have a shimpo wheel and a K-4 Kemper trim tool.

Mom is visiting from central Maine, as she does each June when school first lets out. She is agreeable to my quirky semi-obsessive need to do my thing despite having company. She graciously allowed me to spend a few hours in the Pottery Cave while she entertained herself by playing guitar. We stayed here at the "homestead" until 2:30 so that the shop could be open then ventured on our way to Eastport where we checked-out a galleries.

I was pleased to meet two potters. Dancing Dogs Pottery might be the "easternmost-city" potter (whereas I would be more officially the easternmost town potter). I think Lubec is slightly more easterly, but we are literally a hop-skip-and a jump from each other across the bay. A good pair of water skis would get me there in no time. Nonetheless, no bridge, so it is a lengthy drive off our peninsula, up US Route 1, then down onto the island of Eastport.

After Dancing Dogs Pottery, which has gorgeous glazes on porcelain, we ventured into the Eartport Gallery which is celebrating twenty-five years in business. Good for them! The gallery-sitter was the featured artist and told us about using paper clay and her love of raku. I totally got it. I love the raku process as well and bought a raku kiln about 15 years ago. Sadly, it has not been used since moving to Lubec nine years ago. The bricks were demolished pretty much in the last UHaul experience. But now I have new bricks and pots already bisqued and ready to fire. I hope to begin raku again this summer!!!

Today should be another fabulous day for mom and me. I plan to get-in some time in "The Cave", then we venture out onto the streets of Lubec, Mom is itching to get back to Northern Tides and say hello to its owner Deb, who is always so welcoming. Then perhaps a ride over to Campobello for some international touring. I doubt the whales are out and about yet, but we'll check things out at East Quoddy, and then on over to Lubec's West Quoddy for a short hike. Tomorrow night, dinner at a new restaurant downtown and an old-time music jam at the CCLC.

It's time to gently nudge Bello the cat away from my arm so I can wrap-up this blog and head on down in to my cave. Why is it that we hate so much to disrupt a contently resting cat? When it's time to get Chris up I just jump up and down on the bed and sing loudly (mind you, not in tune) and flip on the bright overhead lights.


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