Sometimes you get lucky


This one explosion had the potential to take out several other pots. It was too wet when I loaded it and it didn't have time to properly off-gas during the bisque firing. I was in a hurry. I rushed the process. I got lucky. This bowl is the only piece I lost in this full load. Lucky!


Sometimes we rush through life, trying to cut corners to get to an end goal. We aren't patient with ourselves or even the process. If I have learned anything over the course of my clay journey, I have learned patience. This photo would say otherwise.


I have learned that you can skip wedging clay, when it's fresh out of the bag but not when it's recycled. I have learned that you can trim before leather hard stage but you risk mangling your rims. I have learned that you can load a kiln with slightly damp pots but you have to candle that kiln for at least 24 hours, if not longer. Longer would have saved this bowl. I have also learned that after years of practice you learn a lot about clay and how far you can and can't push it. That's when cutting corners isn't really cutting corners. It is knowing how far you can go before you get a fail. I tell my students all the time that if you are timid with the clay you will end up with safe, thick, heavy pots. If you push the clay you may end up with more flops and failures to start but you will learn more about the clay, quicker.


Practice, practice, practice, patience, patience, patience.

Practice proper techniques

Practice the basic forms

Practice being patient

Be patient with yourself

Be patient with the clay

Be patient with the process


Losing 1 bowl out of a load of 8 large bowls, 2 dozen cups and about 50 small hand-built pieces, is a minimal loss. I did get lucky but I also knew my odds, my timeline and I took the calculated risk. Years of practice, patience and pushing my clay in all its stages has taught me when I will mostly likely will get lucky.

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