November 8, 2009

Hiding in the Process

the tools used to make the jars

Whenever I'm throwing a series of pots, say, these 2 # jars, it seems it takes a few flops and a few bad ones to get to where I'm wanting to go. Self conciousness, the right firmness of the clay, the tools needed, the ability to focus all play their role in the beginning. Then a flow happens in the repetition, a kind of hand jive with the clay and the whell.

Hopefully next week will be more of a flow. I'm sure these little jars will be fine. One of the saving graces of pottery making is its redemption through repetition. It's my constant hope that there will be one or two out of this bunch that will really shine, that's all I can can hope for. Of course from a business standpoint, there will be many more that are just fine and will appeal to the folks who support my work at my upcoming sales. But what I'm talking about are the ones that have a little extra. That little extra is what Christopher Alexander and his team of architects called "the quality without a name" in their work, The Timeless Way of Building. The poetic combination of clay, glaze, firing, handling, that adds up to a greater sum than it's mere parts. Maybe in my lifetime of making pots this will happen a few times in each kiln load.

the table "at the end of the day"