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I tell my students that it is the last thing you do to an object that makes or breaks it. It could be how you glaze it, but really its how you fire it. Well maybe its how you mount it. I guess I really should say how you display it. Actually it might be the title and tag that makes the piece. Or it could be that the final meaning is when you get some critic to right about. Actually, probably what I am taking about is that the piece is not finished being made until the last owner has drunk thier last cup of coffee from it, disposed of it and forgotten about it. So this evening I am doing a crappy job firing a kiln. Really I am doing a bang up job of firing it, but I need to do it better because my preparation for firing stunk. I should have cleaned the burners out before I started. I should have turned the dam thing off his morning and cleaned them and then relit . Lots of little things, ignored details, any one of which would lead to better pots. I am not sure, because often I think my attitude shows up in the work, it is at least sometimes consistently apparent.

And it is important. Quality, what ever it is, is important. Particularly here on the Gulf Coast, in proximity oil spills, a town that refines gasoline. Quality is what we need. We don't really need the contrast my work provides. We need the hovering over detail. I can't be the one who provides it. My work refines in other ways, my quality comes out horizontally not vertically.

I live in the United States. We have plenty. We have grains, vegetables, meat, shelter, clothes. We have security, safe streets, music, art, and Ipods. What we don't have enough of is quality. We have way too much junk. Junky food, junky music, junky art, junky houses, toasters and plastic pots… they don't enrich, put enpoor us. They depower, depress, and dehumanize us . These objects of emptiness enslave us to artificial stimulation. We fight, we attempt escape. We by food that is too fat, too sweet, too salty. It lacks refinement, innovation, depth.

So my staying at school late to fire a kiln is not by itself a problem, it is that my poor preparation for firing has created a situation perhaps leading to more mediocrity. so, I am embarrassed and dread opening the kiln.

Fortunately some of the objects, some of the pots, can be saved by using appropriate foods in them. They will need careful use so that the final finishing touches, the placing and removing of food from them will make them more than the drek that they are without the care. The real quality is in the experience you create washing the pot, setting it to dry and putting it away.The real quality is the quality we impose on the objects as we view and use them. The quality in the firing is hopefully created through writing.

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Page last modified on June 20, 2013, at 06:04 PM