Monday, July 06, 2009

It's All About the Journey... Really

Nothing to drink--though I was tempted by a glass of wine, the sound of crickets and few stray leftover neighborhood fireworks for music. It was a day. I tried very hard to Be Good and Kind To My Ankle. Last night I made up my firing schedule for the week, and today I cut it in half--and it was still a very tough day.

But I am truly blessed with wonderful friends (it takes a village). Becky the Wunder assistant and Dee both came and helped me get the kiln loads in late this afternoon and Dee stayed to help set up the sandblasting equipment in the early evening. It was too hot and humid outside to test it out tonight (and far too late after far too long a day)--and besides that I have to run to Home Depot in the morning for a hose adapter to connect Dee's compressor (kindly on permanent loan to the studio) to the blasting pot. Tomorrow is another day.

Mel took J after camp for a playdate and dinner with her daughter Kyla. When she brought J home, she also brought me a dinner of spaghetti and fresh-baked bread. Tomorrow Stacy is making us dinner. At this rate I won't even have to call Zifty (thanks for the tip, Mindy!).

Tonight, after a big glass of water and a pain pill, I relax and remember the wondrous week I spent in Linda Ethier's studio in Portland being initiated into the mysteries of lost wax, mold-making and kilncasting of glass. Ahh, those were the good old days. The pre-broken-leg days...

There were six of us in the class all with diverse backgrounds, interests and tastes. We spent an intense five days bonding over Liberty wax and plaster silica--oh, and glass too. And let's not forget Cuban lunches at Pambiche across the street from the studio, or the rich exotic chocolates at Alma around the corner and down a couple of blocks... It was a week of dorm living, bus riding, perfect weather, and a slice-out-of-time.

Taking a workshop like this is, at its best, a peek into the mind of a master. I could spend months with Linda Ethier and--as open and sharing as she is--I would still only be able to learn a fraction of what she knows about glass casting, mold-making and lost wax. And even with as much as I still don't know and have to learn, at the end of my week I have a piece of which I am already incredibly proud. In addition, I have the beginnings of the knowledge I need to continue my exploration of the technique, and I have my map and compass from my week with Linda to guide me in.

Too often you can end up in a class where the instructor is very enthused and energetic about the subject material, but his or her knowledge of it is not much deeper than your own. In those instances the experience is still enjoyable, but it feels almost more like an adventure together to see what lies around the next bend, rather than a journey with a master who knows every rock, creek, and wily raven along the way.

I didn't take this workshop with the goal of incorporating a new technique into my production work. I love and respect Linda's work, and Ellen Abbott's, and Delores Taylor's, and Leslie Rowe-Israelson and Melanie Rowe's (Twin Vision Glass), but this is not something I think I could feed my family on. No, I am eagerly looking forward to making more cast pieces (I am particularly interested in casting objects from nature--flowers, shells, bones, what-have-you), and these pieces will be for me. They will be all about the journey--not the destination--and it won't matter if I spend an hour fussing with a leave to get the curl just right. There won't be anyone to care how long it takes but me.

Soon I hope to get all the pictures I took from the week up on the web, but for now I present my partners in crime, and snippets of our week. I am trying to lure Linda out to Atlanta to teach a workshop in the spring. Keep your fingers crossed.


Bill said...

Good for you, and good for your soul, no?

Kathleen Krucoff said...

Wow, sounds like such a great learning experience! Instructors like that are a real find and as you indicate, they leave you ready to take their next class. Hope you are successful in enticing Linda to come to Atlanta!