Bigger, grander, more, more, more! Well... for some this might seem like overindulgence or greed but in pottery it is about getting the correct size. From working in wet clay to the final product of a glazed pot the piece will be about 12% to 14% smaller. Yes, they shrink quite a bit.
I remember when I first started making pottery. Oh the anticipation for my completed serving bowl, I was so excited! Then you pull it out of the final kiln and you have what? A cereal bowl, a bit of a let down to say the least. What I was expecting, what I imagined, was so much grander than reality. Was I unrealistic?
We do this with many things in life, don't we? Build them up and expect so much just to be let down. Life will be different after we graduate, a wedding day, birth of a baby. Many times, yes, these days are wonderful but in the grand scheme of things they are just one day, a small part of our overall life. Yes it was a memorable day, but it was just that, a day, one drop in the five gallon bucket of life.
You have to build things larger knowing when the time comes they will be brought down to size. I will never forget when I first laid eyes on the Great Pyramids of Giza. Wow! Yes they are impressive especially when you take into consideration the tools of the time. What determination it must have taken to build something so grand! Then when I walked right up to them and looked up, really? I'm from Chicago, you should see the Sears Tower! I guess I built them up in my mind to be the largest structure I will ever be in front of but years of human evolution has even scaled down the pyramids. What chance do my pots have if the pyramids are scaled down?
I constantly think back to my "grand" bowl that shrunk down to become not so grand. The grandness is not in each piece, but in the collection, the whole dish set, our life as a whole and where we are today. It's not just the wedding day or the birthday but the life built from that day. Neither one would be what it is without each individual piece and each day that led up to it.
Clay has taught me a valuable lesson in life: don't build things up to much and don't count on things until they are a done deal. Disappointments happen and you must learn to roll with them, but among the disappointments are unexpected surprises. It is in the collection and whole experience that one will find the grandeur.
Off Your Rocker Pottery