At a certain point, you say to the woods, to the sea, to the mountains, the world, Now I am ready. Now I will stop and be wholly attentive. You empty yourself and wait, listening. After a time you hear it: there is nothing there. There is nothing but those things only, those created objects, discrete, growing or holding, or swaying, being rained on or raining, held, flooding or ebbing, standing, or spread. You feel the world's word as a tension, a hum, a single chorused note everywhere the same. This is it: this hum is the silence.....
~Annie Dillard from Teaching a Stone to Talk
In the background, behind and beyond this blog, I have quietly continued to work on this and that. Little bits of things such as trying to lose the word expectation. I just could not sit down and write. I needed no writing and no reading solitude for a little while. More silence so I could listen closely to what the clay is saying to me.
It's stop and go in my studio recently. I thought I had more throwing clay, but it turns out all those boxes are sculpture clay. I took it as a signal to get some sculptural work done until I can get to the nearest ceramic store.
The piece on the left has had three different faces. It just wasn't right. I got a little disconnected to this piece after the third head. The little mitten hand is just a visual aid for positioning. Maybe that's what is throwing me. Taking photos sometimes helps. After looking at this photo, changing the position of the arms---hanging down might help. Both arms down and holding an empty basket as if it's heavy. Maybe the right face will come now. Endurance... I keep hearing for this piece.
The piece on the right came easily to me. It is a long piece and the head is separate so I can get it into my kiln. I find that the arms are also good things to fire separately. I use bamboo skewers to position the arms. I make sure to check them as the clay will shrink around the skewer making it impossible to remove. It is okay if one side is stuck---it will burn out in the kiln. But the whole point is to get the piece into the kiln with no damage to the hands or knocked off fingers. These holes are also important. I use a piece of skewer and epoxy to position and attach parts. Sometimes it is possible to use glaze and fire to fuse the parts together. However, things move around in the heat of the moment and the kiln has a joking mentality. Epoxy is a more reliable friend. It listens.