“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
It is Valentine's Day, and I just gave Jessie the present I bought for her back in December. It's a blue jade and silver bead bracelet with a silver heart medallion hanging from it. On the medallion I had engraved "Anything Can Be" from the poem above. When she opened it, I had a misty-eyed, uplifting moment and thought how everything would be all right for the show, it would all work out--after all, anything can be. And then I thought of all the disasters that "anything can be" could also bring to life...
Who pissed in my bean curd this morning, you might ask. The new work for the show--of course all left for last and for the last minute--has been kicking my butt and not even bothering to take my name. The night before last I was in the studio till after 1:00 am loading the kiln with the glass for the 1/2" cast glass disks on copper rods for the new sculptural pieces. When I went back yesterday morning at 9:30 am, that kiln was still annealing--not a good omen for the prospects of getting yesterday's kiln load in (though perfectly predictable had I done the math on how long the firing would take). Not having an extra day to just walk away and let it cool, I pushed it and cracked the lid (1/4") at 350 degrees (about 5:00 pm).
Thick pieces, dammed with steel molds and on mullite shelves. I knew I was risking it, but there were no good choices. I also knew that though thermocouple read 350 degrees, that was the air temp in the kiln and the glass was significantly hotter. Finally about 9:00 pm I took the pieces--still in the steel molds and on the shelves--out of the kiln. The temperature--lid fully open--read 171 degrees. Had I stopped there, I think I would have been fine, but I needed the shelves and molds from the 9" circle pieces to do another set. So I slipped the molds off and stacked the glass circles (now THAT was a stupid move--all I can say is, I was tired and thought the stack would preserve the heat better and allow them to cool more slowly). A few minutes later I heard the first, distinctive prack (a combination of a ping and a crack) and, sure enough, The lime green circle cracked starting at the exit point of one copper rod and running right through. Eventually it made it all the way across and I discovered that my discs are 5/8" thick--not 1/2". A couple of minutes later I heard another one go. It was the turquoise one. Another one, yellow, did not crack, but I didn't have the mold centered on the fiber paper so the bottom is not flat and I had to remake it too.
Now it's Tuesday morning, and I know that the pieces I put in last night--I finished just after midnight--won't be cool enough to coldwork today at all. I'm not even going to unload them from the kiln till tomorrow morning. Then I'll need to coldwork and pack them before hitting the road and driving to Philadelphia with Mom and J in tow. (No, I'm not really towing them along behind. I'll let them ride in the car--if there's enough room.)
If I'm lucky, tomorrow's post title will be "It's A Mystery". Right now it feels like more Princess Bride:
Inigo: We're in a terrible rush.
Miracle Max: Don't rush me, sonny. You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles.