March 9, 2013

Wood, Fire, and the Potter

wood yard
It's been a dizzying day that began way to early after an all-nighter  firing over at my good neighbor, Courtney Martin's kiln. It's about over as the sun heads over the hill, thankful for a little longer days as Spring nears. I've burned a lot of wood and cut a lot of wood today. Tomorrow I head to Asheville to help Kyle get his kiln ready for his next firing. If the business of my potter neighbors is any indication, the economy is turning itself around. But are we potters good barometers of economic prosperity? Many of us are in this business for better or worse.

As we fired Courtney's kiln in the wee hours of morning, we lamented the reality of this unusual vocation. So much work.

We were heavy with the long day and the stress of the unknown outcome of a kiln reluctant to climb in temperature and a woodpile that, despite it's loaves and fishes miracle, eventually succumbed to our zealous stoking. The stress will, hopefully, be redeemed for some pots that might reveal it's potter's love for the process.

We weather the storms of hard times because we live for the fire and the clay. With the door of the kiln bricked up the process of the firing is somewhat abstract. Temperature, pyrometric cones, smoke, heat, and light are the elements that concern us for the time being.

But with the door of the kiln opened, revealing it's bounty, we remember why we  endure the process.  the pots.