Contemplating Clay on a Snowy Day

We’re snowed in! It’s snowed over a 8″ and my footfalls were very silent when I took seed and nuts out for the ground birds and squirrels at 6:30 a.m. It’s still coming down, big, fat flakes, and the chickadees are flitting back and forth from the feeder. Later, I saw what I think is a starling. When it spied me, it flew up to the bird bath, so I got a closer look at its distinctive beak. It’s the first time I’ve seen one here.  It’s a day and for drinking tea and contemplating clay. No running around today. I may have moved here from snow country, but many in the Lower Mainland, BC are inexperienced at driving in such conditions, so it is best experienced indoors, at least till the roads are cleared. In the meantime, I’m the only one up, so it’s time to sit by the fire here and ponder. I have decisions to make and things to create. Today, I must use the spray starch technique and re-glaze a piece with Red Chrome. In addition, I’m going to make a half a dozen or so brown sugar medallions for friends, unglazed terra cotta. I also have a large rectangle of bone dry white clay and I’ve been planning on using underglazes on it to depict a Tree of Life, corn stalk with birds. I must sketch it out, then start painting it in. I’ve made one before, in another medium. But, chiefly, I want to make more escutcheons. I made one, but it broke. I’m Krazy gluing it right now because I’m going to mold it as soon as it dries. I want to do something multi-mediaish with it after I’ve made a few. What I have in mind is dangling skeleton keys and decorative bits and pieces from it. The one I’m molding is decorated with vines and berries which twine around the keyhole. To me, escutcheons are symbolic, representing doors opening, things to come, possibilities. So, I like the idea of making them and want to concentrate on making more, different sizes and styles. Many sites sell antique escutcheons and they are positively gorgeous. I’d like to mold a metal one and make ones based on it, playing with finishes; I won’t be spending $100 on the escutcheon, though. Junk shops, here I come! I’ve got terra cotta at home and a bit of white clay. As I contemplate, I realize there’s something important I must consider and act on constructively. I’m writing daily, plus doing everything else I did before blogging, so I have less time. I’ve come to notice I’m actually working in clay less. I thought I had been devoting less time to it because of the holidays and travel. But, it’s almost St. Paddy’s and I’m still in the same boat. A few things are moving but much less than usual. So, it means I must practice better time management, cut back, or entirely give up a few things. Time wasting activity must be placed on the back burner if I’m to make more time for clay work. Therefore, I publicly commit to a change which will help me make more time for working in clay, which is very important to me (and my sanity). First, I must note how I waste time and then make myself accountable. Talking about this process is one of the purposes of my blog. It gives me a place to air things, it’s public and that makes it real. Once I get the ball rolling, I might just get lucky and make some neat things. After all, luck happens when preparation meets opportunity.


About Jan

I have a background in ceramics, graphic design and journalism.
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