Point of View

"BROKEN",  2004,  20" x 5" x 3",  ceramic, 24k gold

"BROKEN", 2004, 20" x 5" x 3", ceramic, 24k gold

 

Working with clay is a tricky business..  so elemental.

Really, you’ve got the dirt and water (clay), the fire (kiln) and the air.

Master ceramists achieved that status because of a deep understanding of the elements  (I said UNDERSTANDING, not CONTROL).

In the history of Japanese ceramics,  if a coveted work of art fractured or broke in the firing process,  they would fill the break with 24 carat gold and call attention to the  ‘flaw’  as an integral part of the beauty of the piece.

It is hard to see in the above piece but I did just that.

My ceramics are pit fired.

I dig a pit,   lay sawdust down and a layer of kindling.

Then I carefully place the work and pile wood on top.

I light the pile then cover it with a piece of corrugated metal and leave it overnight to burn and smolder.

In the morning I return and uncover the pit.

When I saw this piece,  I just stopped in my tracks…  to me it was so very beautiful..

The colors and markings all come from the fire and I happened to use some old wood that made the fabulous drip marks.

I took the piece and excitedly put it under water to rub off the soot and see the piece more clearly.

It was still slightly warm from the fire and the water was cool and……….

IT BROKE IN MY HANDS.

I cried.

(Ceramics teaches one non-attachment as so many things break, but still…)

I filled the crack with gold.

It was such a precious process as the love of my art was there,  the grief of it’s not originally going the way I wanted it to go,  the cost of the gold,  the care and time it took to do this…

I have kept few pieces for my own collection but this one I have.

Such a gorgeous metaphor for my current state of being.

It’s all truly a question of point of view,  is it not?

Flawed or perfect?

A  ‘throw-away’  or a keeper?

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