Shape Shifter…

I’ve found that after I’ve been throwing for a stretch, I like to experiment and see what comes up and this activity can be confusing unless you happen to have (which I do) a resident “shape shifter” around. When I’m done trying a new shape, I cut it off the wheel and set it on a table and the shape shifter comes around and either gives me the thumbs up or does this (which can be translated as “don’t bring that ugly shite around here”)…

I knew that meat cleaver would come in handy… just wasn’t sure what it would be handy for.

Actually I was gonna make some vases in two pieces and I usually throw the two pieces, trim and attach when leather hard but became enamored with the idea of attaching them while they were still wet enough to alter (as many do) and gave it a try with the biggish one above. I should have waited overnight but decided to go for it and gravity smacked me (and it) down. Sofia had a good time hacking it up with the cleaver though. The event was very reminiscent of my very first clay class in college as a freshman/sophomore. There was a very talented student that was ahead of us by a year or two and had spent enough time in the studio to use one of the two electric wheels. All the beginners learned on those metal standing kick wheels that I can’t remember the name of where you lean against a bar while kicking a lever. Anyway, although this student, Dusty, ended up being a good friend and even attending both the same graduate schools as me at the same time, us beginners were in awe of his ability in the beginning when we didn’t know him. So Dusty would throw these huge pots… 5 feet tall, 2 feet in diameter, thrown in sections and they would slowly accumulate in the clay shop. Anyway, to his unending amusement and our abject horror, on his cousin’s birthday (his cousin wasn’t a potter but a great banjo player) he would have him visit the clay shop during a time when some of us were around, tell him to take his pick, give him a baseball bat and let him destroy one of these big beauties that we could only dream of being able to make at that time. We couldn’t believe it and of course, that’s what he was after… oh to be young. I’ve been a bit remiss on posts lately and there is a reason but I’ve gone back and forth about whether to post about it as it’s related to health and I’m not sure whether this is the venue. I’ve thought about doing a whole series of posts called “Medical Adventures” or something like that to provide context because I’m afraid my current conclusions would seem a bit strident without it. Anyway, not sure because there would be no pictures and it might seem unrelated to ceramics. Regardless, I’ve been distracted and have found it difficult to concentrate on anything but the matters at hand. Everything is OK and I’m only trying to explain the lapse in blogging. I threw some bottles yesterday and I salvaged a twisty one and now I think I like it the best…


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11 Responses to “Shape Shifter…”

  1. Tracey Says:

    I liked you title, are you a Fringe fan? I love that show. I bought Gerry a camera bag for his birthday and it was also called a shape shifter. I’m telling you I would be very kind to your child with that new weapon she has:)
    Hope your health is good, I whine all the time about my ailments so feel free, we will all give you a virtual hug out here in the blogosphere! I’m extremely distracted right now and not making much but the blog helps me feel connected to pottery at least for now until I get my focus back. Take care!!!

  2. Miri Says:

    Fringe is a great show. Hope things take a positive turn for you. Yeah, like Tracey said, feel free to vent. Hell, its your blog, no? That’s the beauty of it: you get to decide the tone, the content etc. But by the same token, you don’t owe anyone explanations either. You’re still one of the more prolific (and interesting) bloggers out there and I think the fact that you DON’T only write about pottery is a large part of it (at least for me it is). Again, hope everything turns out for the best.

    Damn. Nothing ambiguous about THAT kind of critique, huh? I have a fly swatter in the studio which I’ve been using as intended (and for shooing out lizards…). Wonder how well it would work on pots… Hmmm….might actually make some nice patterns! 🙂 Regardless, it does look VERY satisfying.

  3. Rob Lorenz Says:

    Looks like Sofia is having fun putting it to all your hard work. There is something to be said for taking a meat cleaver (or bat or hammer or fist) to some pots every once in a while.
    Glad you medical ailments are not keeping you tied down for too long. The bottles are looking good.

  4. Zygote Says:

    Monkey with a meat cleaver!
    My sympathies are with you Jim… A lot of us have been trying to row away from our own personal waterfalls for a while, I know I’ve been rowing like hell, but now I’m close enough to the edge to see that it’s a really, really spooky drop.
    Just keep rowing.

  5. Judy Shreve Says:

    Love the photos of Sofia with the cleaver — she gets the perfect face on!

    This virtual community we all live in is the perfect place to keep it real — we connect so well because we all have similar issues at times — trying to make our work in spite of the world spinning madly around us. If sharing would make you feel better than don’t hesitate — we’re good at virtual hugs in this community!

  6. Ron Says:

    Yikes that sort of makes me nervous. I’m sure Sofia is a sweet little girl but I wouldn’t want to meet her in a dark alley while she’s wielding that cleaver. Ha.
    Like everyone else else said, feel free to put it out here. We are all good support for one another.

  7. ang Says:

    hey i really like that piece with the cleaver in it before entire mutilation!! I think we can learn a lot about our work by attacking it occasionally with all manner of destructive objects…take it easy jim

  8. M@ Says:


    Hope you’re OK. If you need some good, humid air, come on down to Houston. We have two seasons here… Summer and August!

  9. John Shirley Says:

    Really like the one with the twist in it. All the best, John

  10. Angelique Says:

    Oh heck. Now we have a medical mystery. Remember the American Splendor guy who documented his disease and then made it through? Could be it’s physiologically therapeutic to let it rip.

    Twisty is cool. I’d like to see a twisty beer glass – with scales.

  11. Eugene Hon Says:

    I like the bottles, cant wait ot see what the surface decoration and choice of glaze will contribute to the end result. They are very unusual when I saw them during the week, however they have a very designer look about them, the altered form adding a craft, handmade quality – very different look. Interesting.

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