I found this journal entry from a while ago in February when I stayed up all night playing with clay…
I did a lot last night from 9 pm until dawn when I heard our neighbor’s rooster crow. I pulled handles for jugs and mugs. I made a 2 pound bowl. I kneaded loads and loads of clay. I trimmed 6 cups and 3 made it 3 did not. I think my tools were dull so I must sharpen them before trimming next time. I had 6 balls at 1.75 pounds of some really stinky clay which I threw into shapes that did not make it. It did not hold up very well during throwing. The other clay I got from John at the Clay Studio seems denser and better to work with, plus it does not smell like a sewer or cow dung. It’s good practice finding out how hard to push and how far I could go and especially how far is too far. It’s also good practice letting go and not being tied to the outcome.
I trimmed the lid I made the other day but it was too soft and did not make it. So, I made a new lid in a different style which will be easier to trim when the time comes and a real improvement in form over the last one.
I used my sawz-all blades to decorate some texture into the 2 jugs and the mugs. I found a way to make a mark by dragging it 90 degrees and sliding it a little left or right at the same time which makes a progressively longer mark. The sawzall blade is my new favorite tool. I love the result of the mark left when I just go for it without any hesitation, nice and fluid. Confident.
Finally I put a bold and thick handle on the jugs. One of the jugs was still soft at the belly but not the rim. The rim provided good attachment but the belly caved in a little which made the join look sloppy and contrived. I tried to save it but it kept getting worse and worse so I let it go. I will make more. The jugs were 3.5 pounds of clay and could have been a little bigger and less thick in the base. I was unhappy with the shape of the big bowl I made the other day so I let that go as well by cutting off the rim and creating a whole new design. I like what it has become as a result. I figure it is like learning guitar. Slowly and correct will be the better path in the long run.
My hands and wrists are sore today and my lower back is aching. I imagine I will get stronger as I practice and it will help heal my wrists. As long as I am mindful of how far I am pushing myself it will be ok. I do believe it is about technique and skill and not about physical strength. Centering large amounts of clay can be physical but it can also teach me patience.
I’ve been resting for hours and I really want to go out there and check my clay. I think throwing more often for less time is better than one marathon session. However, during this middle of the night adventure time drifted away from my awareness. I was doing my thing totally immersed in the task at hand, learning and loving it with passion and momentum, when all of a sudden I heard the rooster crow, and thought, it must be time for a nice little cuppa.
I cleaned up, made some earl grey tea, and greeted the sunrise with delight and gratitude.