Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Fish Plate 2 and the Art of Letting Go

 A few months ago, a fellow potter who is much more experienced than I am and also much bigger in size, showed me how to throw large platters. He demonstrated with one whole bag of clay, 25 lbs. As for me, I decided to go with half a bag. I threw two platters and took about 3-4 days to recover physically haha. The platter above is about 11lbs of clay. Now, I did try to wire off the platter, but the wire rose up as I was trying to slide it along the bottom and I managed to slice up a bit of the bottom. I cursed aloud, slipped the wire along and then did my best to smooth out the damage. I thought I was successful... we shall see.

 I decided to sculpt a fish on it. A few weeks earlier, I sculpted a fish and used underglaze on it. It was successful and turned out quite nicely. So, I was eager to replicate the success and do another fish. This time, I decided to make the fins out of Pier porcelain (the platter is made of Smooth Sculpture clay). I know that Pier porcelain and Smooth Sculpture have different  shrink rates, but I figured,  "What the heck? Let's see what happens."

 Here's the completed sculpt. Body and face made of Smooth Sculpture.

 Detail... I loved how this turned out.

And then, I took the plate upstairs into my condo to let it dry there. I thought that it had dried enough that it wouldn't matter what I set it upon to dry... Since my cats like to walk on my dining room/work table, I decided to put it on my kitchen countertop. Wrong move... My countertop is made of Corian. I don't think it allows for 'movement'... So, the below happened.

A small crack that went right through the fish and the platter.

Which then became a large crack that went all the way through.

To the end result... cracked in half.

Now, I posted these photos on Facebook, and a number of well meaning friends gave me suggestions on how to fix it or how to finish it. And I did consider it for a while, but did not want to spend the time to finish it. I just wanted to toss it. I talked to the friend who originally taught me how to throw the platter and another potter friend what they thought I should do. Both agreed with my idea to just toss it and yes, they did tell me what I wanted to hear. Honestly, as a potter of many years, sometimes, it's just easier and faster to let go of your mistakes and start again. And that is what I did.

After a few days of mourning, I eventually tossed the plate into my recycled clay bucket. Bashed it to pieces and felt much much better.

Sometimes, it's just better to let it go.

No, I will not sing the song from the movie to anyone. Although, I might consider singing it in Japanese.

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