Overnight, I had no wheel and no kiln.
We were locked out of the studio.
At home, I was on my own week after week.
At home, I looked at each room,
each shelf and table with the eyes of a visitor.
There were unfinished pieces all over.
Some greenware to be decorated, bisque to be glazed and fired, fired pieces in need of embellishments, pieces ready for a third firing. On my mind, some dear little pieces left on a shelf in an abandoned college kiln room. You know…
Also, hundreds of finished familiar pieces. I don’t use my pieces. Only the duds. Cups and bowls that are not broken for mosaic get used in my kitchen.
But the pieces for exhibits, sales, gifts, and displays are never used. I know how long it takes to raise them up from a lump of clay into an object that is a part of me. An object that speaks for me better than I can. These pieces are not for my clumsy use.
Slowly, however, they came into view. At the same time finding food developed into a task and food itself became valuable and interesting. As I cooked with more purpose and care, I looked around and noticed my collections of cups, bowls, and plates.
One day, I baked brioches and croissants. I am not a baker. I was proud. I wanted a nice plate. A lovely surface to open the brioche and spread raspberry jam on it. I used one of my good plates.
I made salads. I had time to admire colors and textures more than before. I picked a bowl from a display shelf. I washed it, peeled off the price and dried the piece slowly. I dressed the salad in the bowl with messy olive oil and vinegar.
I held it on my lap and I ate the whole thing with chopsticks to make the meal last longer. The weight of the bowl felt good and as I ate, the rabbit I had drawn at the bottom looked up at me. I know you! I know you! Shino, blue and green underglaze, waxed design, a little matte white and inky splatters flung with a brush on the studio floor that I had to clean each time.
I have made pieces about others or for others, none about myself or for myself.
Now, I pull pieces from boxes. I wash them, use them, wash them again, to eat and keep close on the kitchen counter.
We’ll see what changes.