Monday, April 5, 2010

VESSELS: Carpe Diem I (in progress)

Sometimes during the creative process, unforeseen problems can become the impetus to try something different from what was originally envisioned.

I didn't plan to make this platter into a fish, but a couple of mistakes while trying a new idea--slab rolled too thin, edges allowed to become too dry too quickly--lead to several unmendable cracks along the rim. Cracks called out for reinforcement. Fins were added (shhhhh, don't tell anyone why) and the crocheted lace texture became scales of a fish.

It's been a long time since I've been over to the community pottery studio to use the slab roller. The clay and I have to make friends with each other again.

I wanted to work on something start to finish today.

I decided that the small time I had would be enough. With just a few voice students this evening, they would have to understand if I wore my smudged pottery clothes during their lessons. They've all known me for a while and the quality of their lesson experience would be unaltered by a few smears of clay on well worn clothes. Perhaps it would even be an inspiration for someone to try an artistic pursuit, an encouragement to see that there are things more important than outward appearances.

Once a pottery project is begun, the clay only stays in optimal working condition for a period of hours. Even when carefully wrapped in damp towels and sealed in a plastic bag, the moisture begins to shift, the texture gradually changes. Once past a certain point, malleability is unrecoverable.

I've had the experience too many times of not being able to get back to something I've begun, losing momentum, and eventually losing the piece when it got to dry to be recovered and completed. Too many times I've had to break an incomplete object, already bone dry, into pieces for the scrap recycling bucket.

The title, Carpe Diem, comes from the movement I've been making toward working more directly on my goals each and every day, even if the time available is much shorter than I would like.

No more waiting for the right moment, for the convergence of mood and uninterrupted hours.

As Dr. Seuss wrote in "Oh! The Places You'll Go!"

Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite.
Or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting perhaps for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil or a better break
or a string of pearls or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls
or another chance.
Everyone is just waiting.
No! That's not for you!

For too long, I've waited for just the right moment to get started again making pottery just for fun, or writing songs, or recording, or working on my "big writing project".

Just the right moment never comes. What we have is today.

So don't carp!