The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Kiln opening day is always filled with anticipation. First, the big question is, “When will it be cool enough to open?” Then the bigger questions are, “What will I find?” “Did the magic occur or was it a disappointment?” and “Will I get the same results as before?”

Today’s opening was filled with a few great successes, some pretty bad glaze runs and yes, some disappointments. I always hate those.   The very thing that offers proof that I am learning deflates me.   The disappointments make me want to run and hide in doing the safe thing. They make me want to narrow my repertoire and do only what I know how to do instead of being expansive and experimental.   They are so…disappointing.

It’s just clay and glaze, and yet it’s so easy to get attached to a beautifully shaped bowl or cup only to have it fail in the final step. With perspective, I remember that this is the artist’s journey. If I made it before, I can make it again. Each step informs the next and you have to get through some bad stuff to get to the good stuff.  Still, I wish there had been more successes.

This batch was about ½ reclaimed pots. These were mostly bowls that were previous experiments yielding bland colors or less than even results. I just put a new coat or two of glaze on them figuring there was nothing to lose. And most of them turned out ok. Here’s my favorite with a before and after:

Before

Before

 

After

After

 

Then there were the mugs. Of the 17 that went in the kiln, only about half finished to my satisfaction. One was ruined by a severe glaze run. (Okay, remember this: When dipping, I can’t leave the mug in too long, or it will get too thick and run.) Several mugs ran either a bit or a lot. The Mystic Waters logo in several doesn’t show up the way I envisioned it. Here’s an example of a good one:

BestMug

Ok breathe.  There is another load just waiting to be glazed.

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