Tuesday, March 23, 2010

when nothing has to do with anything!

Some days, you just have to do cartwheels across the lumpy field and say, "whatever!" This is from the archives -- about 9 or 10 years ago -- wow! Shanna's return to OryGun and her recent posts reminded me of it. But mostly, none of it has to do with anything, except I'm a little off-kilter (is that a Scottish phrase?).

The garden is planted. Two cats are missing. The coffee is hot. My man is hotter. My hands are restless. School's out for a couple of weeks. My lungs are strong. The veggie drawer is empty. The words are plentiful but spinning....out of control and there's not a darn thing that can be done about it.

I wrote this goofy thing after being in one of those insanely bizarre but humiliatingly helpful critique groups. Writerly *types* might enjoy it.

Kisses all around! Don't worry, your hands will find YOU!

Going to Pot
by Gina Gina

“This is like any other craft – the more pots a potter makes and throws away with flaws, the more likely she is to eventually create a really great pot.” – Molly Cook, novelist, writing instructor

“The Potter’s Critique Group”

Instructor: Before we critique the first piece, let’s get warmed up with a pottery exercise. I’m going to say a word, and then I want you to create the first thing that comes to mind until I say stop. Don’t worry. It doesn’t have to look like anything. We’re only making shards here. The idea is that you’re simply creating. O.K. is everyone ready? Get your hands on the clay. Here's your pot starter: Brazil! Go!

The scene: Wheels are turning. The potters are grimacing at the wet lumps of clay before them. The instructor is admiring the glaze on a pot of her own sitting in front of her that was once displayed at the Guggenheim in New York. One potter looks frustrated and is poking little holes into the surface of his smashed clay with his pinkie.

Instructor: One more minute.

O.K. Stop. How did that feel? Would anyone like to share their shard? Alex, show us what you did with Braaazeeel!

Potter Alex: Well, uh, that was a really fun exercise, but I didn’t get very far. Brazil makes me think of folk chickens and uh this shard (holds up a small pointed triangle of clay) represents the beak of a Brazilian clay folk chicken.

Instructor: Wonderful! Lisa, how about your shard?

Potter Lisa: When you said the word Brazil, it brought back the memory of this time, right after I ended a bad relationship, I mean he just literally walked away from an eight-year commitment, that I had dinner at a Mexican restaurant – not Brazil, but close enough – with this guy I met on the Internet and I was trying to put my life back together, find love again, you know, but that night I saw my date’s picture on America’s Most Wanted and now he’s in jail and it was really scary, I mean, I feared for my life and I thought how could this be happening to me? So this (she carefully picks up a heart-shaped piece of clay with a chunk out of one corner sitting atop a small round base) is like, everything I was feeling. Wow (getting emotional) this is really intense.

Instructor: Look at Lisa’s shard everyone. That is nearly a finished piece. It is actually more than a shard. She went with her gut and this is what can happen. Look at the emotion in that piece, the chipped out corner of the heart’s edge. Lisa, you are really close with this. I think you really have the start to something here. With just a little bit of glaze, you could have a complete ashtray!

Nice work everyone. Now we’re ready to critique the first piece. Who brought something this week? Joe – did you bring yours?

Potter Joe: I couldn’t decide what to bring. It was hard, you know. I’m new at this and nervous about exposing myself this way. Anyway, I brought this piece I made for my mom. It’s supposed to be a vase.

Instructor: Great, Joe. Don’t worry. We’re all in this together, right? I mean, I never thought I’d ever have anything in the Guggenheim and one day I did and I realized, I’ve found my hands! I’m a potter! But it wasn’t easy. And it didn’t happen overnight. O.K. pass Joe’s piece around. Take a close look everyone and make a few notes, then we’ll discuss it.

Scene: Joe sends his “pot,” a small, thick unglazed vase-shaped piece with a large bottom and a thin neck. Joe sits nervously, rolling the “shard” he made in the exercise between his hands.

Instructor: Who wants to comment first? Kim?

Potter Kim: I love this piece, Joe. It’s just beautiful – very elegant. The lines are very feminine and beautiful. I really like it a lot. Maybe you could help me make one for my mom!

Potter Jill Marie: Well I’ll just jump right in. I agree, it is elegant. But I do see a problem in that there isn’t an opening. Can we really call it a vase?

Instructor: That’s a really good point Jill Marie. It could be a bookend or maybe even just a decoration, but we really shouldn’t call it a vase because a vase is defined as an “open container.” Since there isn’t an opening, we can’t really call this a vase, Joe. But you’re very, very close. Don’t give up!

Who’s next? Lisa, did you bring something?

Potter Lisa: Yes, I brought a finished piece. It’s modeled after a traditional African soup bowl. I’d like to know how it makes you feel when you first look at it. I’m not sure about the interior glaze. I think the color I chose might lead one to believe it was meant for salad and not soup.

Instructor: I’d like everyone to think about Lisa’s questions while looking at her piece.

Scene: Lisa’s piece is passed around the room. She smiles confidently, but is bouncing one leg up and down while the class examines her bowl.

Instructor: Comments?

Potter Joe: The shape is very nice. I’ve always wanted to be able to make a bowl. The glaze makes me thing “salad” because it’s green, but if it had soup in it, I don’t think I would question it at all.

Instructor: Thanks Joe. You’re exactly right about the green glaze. I think salad, too. But this is art after all. Your job is to discover the right color for your bowl, not choose the best color for salad. Remember, the pottery knows what glaze it wants!

Potter Kim: This is a gorgeous bowl, but I really think it needs a matching plate.

Potter Lisa: O.K., I could add a plate, but how do you know when it’s time to stop? I mean, I could make a plate, then a cup, which would need a saucer. It could just go on and on forever.

Instructor: We’re just about out of time. I want you all to do one exercise at home between now and the next class. Find a quiet place. Set aside one hour. Light a candle, some incense. Put your hand to the clay and create a piece that details a day in your life as you are right now. Who are you? If you were a pottery exhibition, who would have created you? Turn the clay for 45 minutes without stopping. I want you to bring the piece with you to class and we’ll talk about what you learned about the pot you are and the pot you really want to be.

Have a great week! We all seek to find our potter’s hands. Remember: your hands will find you – usually when and where you least expect them!


Erobintica said...

'Twas delightful reading!

Now to go off and find my hands....

Shanna Germain said...

Ahahaha. I love your humor!

Emerald said...

Cute and fun, Gina! :)

It reminded me both of being in the MFA program in which I was for a year and also the wheel-throwing classes I took when I was a kid! (I actually miss those — I really enjoyed making pottery on the wheel. :))

Gina Marie said...

They'll find you, Robin, they'll find you!

Hahahahaha back, Miss G. Remember that class? Now you're the teacher!!! Yes ma'am!

Emerald! Hello, hello! I've never done anything on a wheel, but there is something about wet clay....that is VERY sexy!!!!

Craig Sorensen said...

Oh, you are a kick Gina. I love it!

Gina Marie said...

Hi Craig! What I need is a kick in the pants! Thanks for joining our little pottery group.

Robin, did they find you yet?

Mine are still looking for me....but spring break is around the corner and I might be able to hold still enough for them to catch up.

BadAssKona said...

My hands found me, this morning! Thanks! I'll volunteer to be YOUR lump of clay, any day!

WF: "yorre"
Def: An adjective describing what sort of bitch I am....

Erobintica said...

Yes, Miss Gina, they found me and held me hard today - 5 pages of poetry!

Jeremy Edwards said...

Oh, what a great, hilarious treat of a piece! And my very favorite part is the whole "salad bowl" sequence.

I'm so glad you saved this—and now I'm going to save it. (As soon as I find my hands.)

Gina Marie said...

Yay, Robin!!!! Wow! 5 pages!! That's incredible.

Glad you liked it, Jeremy. I might have to add another funny one inspired by Shanna....a day at the chicken farm.

By the way, Jeremy, I'm deep into "Rock My Socks Off" and LOVE it!!!

Jeremy Edwards said...

: ) : ) : )

Thanks for playing in my sock drawer!!