Pottery can break your heart

From the time I started down this path of pottery, other potters always said..."Don't fall in love with the piece until it has made it all the way through the process". I understood that as so many things can (and do) go wrong. You make the piece and hope that something doesn't happen to it during trimming, during drying, during bisque, during glazing, during reduction fire. You hope that the glaze choices you make are good ones and that they don't run "too much". You hope you don't get the dreaded "S" crack in the bottom of the pot, or that a handle doesn't fall off during bisque. You know that there are SO MANY chances for something to go wrong...you can't afford to fall in love with the piece.


But I did. I was so happy with it! It had such a nice form. The lid fit so well AND it matched the form. Even the handle looked good. I let it dry - ever so slowly. I wanted to make sure it had no moisture at all - truly bone dry before it went into the bisque fire. The walls weren't thick, the bottom wasn't thick, it was one of the nicest pieces I had made to date. I was already thinking about the glaze combination I would use.


Today, when they unloaded the bisque kiln...there it was...in about 400 pieces. It had exploded! No idea why. Several of us looked at the pieces (big and small), we checked the walls, the bottom, we looked for where the failure may have started...nothing. There are so many things that could have gone wrong - maybe a small air bubble. Maybe a small crack inside the wall that wasn't visible to the eye. Maybe...maybe...maybe... The reality is that it simply doesn't matter. The piece is gone. Sure, I will be able to replicate it one of these days and maybe the new one will be even nicer, but it will never be this one.


Yes, I learned my lesson - never fall in love with the piece...it is heartbreaking when something happens. I will tell myself this again and again and yet, as sure as I know I will pick up another ball of clay, I know that there will be another piece that I will fall in love with BEFORE it is totally finished. That is just how I roll.


Cheers,


J


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