Au Revoir Chamois…

For those non potters that may be reading this, many of us potters use a chamois (pronounced sh amee but I like to pronounce it sham wah mostly because it sounds more French and it rhymes with au revoir) cloth to address the rims of our vessels while they are being thrown. It is a very soft and supple leather that makes the rim look smooth and finished. Well, first off… this is a real chamois,

Chamois cloth that one buys at the automotive store can be made from sheep, goats or deer and is used more often by grown men who are in love with their vehicles and want to polish them and their windows. If you’ve seen my car you are certain that this is not what I use them for…

So anyway, I have a piece of chamois and I cut a little square off and use it until it disintegrates, then cut another… no big deal. Yesterday I was throwing and I reached in my wee bucket of water for the chamois and voila (<-french), it wasn't in there. I have to preface this by saying that looking for things that have always been in a certain place but now are not has become a big part of my life recently. It was bad enough with just Mom but now Sofia has joined in. I turned the entire house upside down for at least a half hour looking for my car keys the other day. I started thinking that I may have left them in the front door lock, went to bed and then some nefarious individual came and took them and was now plotting a heist (as if there were anything fence-able in my house) but found out that Sofia was playing with them and put them in one of my empty plastic glaze containers. In the last week alone, I’ve looked for keys, my neckwarmer, my glasses on several occasions, a CD that’s been in the car for 5 years, a metal ruler, the little paper CD sleeves, sesame oil that I just bought and I even looked for a tavern that I’ve been to several times. Except for the tavern, none of these things were where they usually are and when I ask if anyone’s seen them, no one has. So I'm fishing in the bucket, looking on the floor next to my wheel and thinking I never take the chamois away from the wheel, where could it have possibly gone? Then I see her

So I figure she pulled it off the rim of my water bucket when I left the room and she must have taken it somewhere and chewed it up. I look in every room for shredded chamois and porcelain stains and can’t find any… I guessed I’d find it when I least expected. So, I cut a new piece, throw some more, leave the room again for a bit, go back, throw some more, reach for the new chamois… it’s gone. I end up looking around some more and finally come to the conclusion that she didn’t tear them up, she ate them. It made more sense to me later when I realized that the leather is just like some of the chew toys that dogs eat. Went to a great Chinese restaurant with pals, Jeff Campana and Sebastion Moh. We’re all potters and it was good conversation about all things ceramic and the food was not the normal American-Chinese fare. Yum… my. Speaking of things Chinese, here’s a piece of my friend Ig’s Blanc de Chine…

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13 Responses to “Au Revoir Chamois…”

  1. Jerry Says:

    A couple of comments on this story…

    I too last a chamois a while back. No idea where it was, that is until I open up a bag of The Coup (Matt & Dave’s ^6 porcelain…LOVE IT) scraps to re-wedge & throw. Well, I noticed a gray mass at the bottom of the bag. Chamois found. The stench was quite striking. Let me tell you that I am now using a fresh chamois. It was a aromatic wedging session that I am sure my classmates appreciated as much as I did.

    Secondly, if Sunglasses is the culprit you might find some evidence to that fact soon. Years ago I awoke one morning and could not find my earplugs (which I sleep in nightly) anywhere. Vanished!!! Later that day I was walking my roommate’s dog (& sometime bed warmer to me) and voila! there were the earplugs, which were never ever used again. True story.

    • jim Says:

      hi jer, i’m envious of anyone that has aromatic wedging sessions. yeah, i thought about when i might have confirmation on whether or not she ate them and half felt like she was gonna get up in the middle of the night and vomit them out on our bedroom floor.

  2. dan Says:

    Let me know if you find my wallet!

  3. Melanie Says:

    I was so curious to find out where that “shamee” went… I scrolled down to look at the pictures to find out without reading through the entire text and saw the Chinese Figurines and thought somebody had placed it inside the bowls the right figure is holding…

  4. cindy shake Says:

    That Chinese sculpture is amazing! I read an article in one of the potter magazines a while back and a tip was to thread a cork on the edge of your favorite chamois so it floats in your water! Though not sure if Sunglasses has a thing for corks too….

  5. gary Says:

    is that clay or glue on the dawgs ear? Maaaaaaan….

  6. Miri Says:

    Quelle horreur!!! I’d die without my chamois. The lizards have not taken an interest in any of my pottery tools so far, thank goodness. They do like to do their business in a few of my pots in the gallery. Very consistently. Same pots. I think their assessment if pretty spot on and the pots will be removed to the seconds pile as soon as my next glaze load comes out.

    Hopefully Sunglasses will not develop a taste for greenware…

  7. nancy pene Says:

    ..and then there are those days where every thing you touch gets dropped or knocked over..that’s when I take a walk and not try to throw or load the kiln…
    just love your never ending saga of the life of a potter.. funny stories that I find myself saying …uh oh..Sofia’s dad has another dilemma cooking..

  8. meredith Says:

    I love to come here for a laugh.
    Yep tasty she is thinking please cut me another.
    I can’t think how you can protect them with out her eating the cork and all.
    Lovely she would think a littel chew toy to go along with this nice piece of leather.
    I once put on my glasses to find my glasses- good one.
    let me know if you find Dan’s wallet.

  9. ang Says:

    shammy shammy bad times behind me shammy shammy la la la la!!!

  10. ang Says:


    thought this might help….then there’s

    ba na na na ba na na na BAT CLAY!! tune reference, it’s the bit at the end…

  11. Gord Says:

    Do you get ads for the Sham Wow down there? I’d like to hit Vince with a stick.

  12. judy motzkin Says:

    I roll the end of a strip of chamois into a clothespin. Floats and hard to swallow.

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