Thanks for popping in. So many events all over the country on this Bank Holiday Monday in England ! Anything near you? We drove past the Edenbridge and Oxted Country Fair AND the Flower Show in Withyam on the way back from a few hours at work this morning. (There was some catching up and a lot of planning ahead to be done – so we took advantage of the quiet time at Clarity Towers).
But I was itching to get home for the big unveiling – It was Grand Kiln Opening Day today! Flicked the switch Saturday, and have waited till this afternoon. Bisque load ahoy!
I know, I know. No bunting, no brass band, no afternoon tea tent. But the moment when you open that big old heavy door – well, how can I describe it? It’s like Christmas when you’re a kid.
Not even a packed kiln, which is rather wasteful. But I’m managing so little pottery at the moment, with all that is going on, that it would take another few weeks to fill her to the gunnels. So sod it. And you see, there are a few pots on the middle shelf that Grace and Mark made when they were in quarantine here. And she’s coming home again next week. And they need to be fired so she can glaze them. And. And And.
A rush of warm air, and a quick glance on all 3 floors, to make sure there’ve been no explosions, no calamities. There was one piece in particular I was looking at – the large piece at the back on the top shelf. See it?
It’s another lampstand, another Hans Coper stylee lampstand, which developed a hairline crack while I was constructing it. Note to self: don’t add new (wet) clay to an already dry piece. When it shrinks back it splits away and cracks – and that’s a fact. I knew it, but like most things in life, you have to actually DO it wrong yourself to learn it.
Thing is, you’ve already got so many hours in the game by the time it splits, you don’t really want to abandon it and bin it. See the base? Added too late. Would YOU want to put this in the recycling bin?
So I had set myself a new challenge: how to repair a crack. I’d add a little more clay to the wound – it cracked open again. I soaked the crack to make the clay wet, then reworked it – it cracked open again. I wet it, added slip and put a heavy weight on it – it cracked again. Then I read somewhere to mix toilet paper with slip and make a pulp. Then keep adding the toilet paper pulp to the crack. It started to get smaller. So I added more and waited. Got smaller. I added more and let it dry. It got smaller. But all the time I was saying to myself, “Why are you wasting time on this project? You know it will split wide open in the kiln when it heats up.” Let me tell you why.
A little aside. This was all going on while Dad was in the hospital. So every evening I would get home from spending the day with him, in the Critical Care unit, then an Elderly Care ward, and spend half an hour with this broken pot, trying to fix it. To me it symbolised my Dad. It needed mending, it had to be repaired, and it would be okay. Do you get me? I worked away at this broken thing like my life depended on it.
So back to today. When I opened the kiln, my eyes went straight to the large lampstand, to see whether it had split open and broken again. Want the BEST NEWS? It’s looking a bit patchy, and you can even still see the scar, where I was patching it up. BUT. It held. The split stayed sealed. And I cannot tell you how chuffed I am.
Now I have to gently wet sand it back to smooth. I think there may be a scar, but not a gaping crack. This is far more than just a lampstand…
Dad too. He’s home. Worn out and frail. But he’s on the mend and healing well. Literally. One day at a time.
Back to the kiln! What a haul! Grace and Mark did a fabulous job! All the front row…
And the other ones I was a little sceptical about were the porcelain coffee mugs I made weeks ago. Wasn’t sure the handles would stay on. Remember?
Bottom shelf revealed…Yep! Every one held!
So quite the haul today, for a not filled to the gunnels kiln!
The glazing phase is growing by the kiln load…
But this week it’s Clarity Birthday week on TV. So close the kiln Gray! Ok. Just one more…here’s a little clue…
Love and hugs