Archive for August, 2012

Sometimes the detritus is more spectacular than the finished objects:

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One afternoon, years ago, I was playing with some friends across town.  I forget the game, and in fact, I recall the main part of this story happening in between the games — a sidebar that got out of hand, so to speak — the gang had been split into two groups — the little girls exploring the garage, and the other little girls who were riding some small wheeled vehicle a ways down the block. I’m pretty sure there weren’t wheeled vehicles for everybody, so there were some on wheels, some chasing along — as you do — and others watching.

It was probably in the fall, probably in the early 70s.  The Partridge Family was on television, but I had never heard of it until I met this group of children. They tried to explain, and I was more disappointed that the Family did not own a cat than I was about any other aspect of the plot.  It meant when the group played “Partridge Family”, there didn’t seem to be any character that I especially wanted to ‘be’.

Any way… M. and I found something interesting in the garage: a First Aid kit.  Oh, this was exciting!  Real stuff, not pretend.  We sent another girl to tell the group along the sidewalk about the discovery.

She didn’t return, having fallen at some point on her journey after racing down the driveway.

We sent someone else.  Again, no one came running back to share our delight at the First Aid kit.

Eventually I ran off, realized the problem, and was running back to tell M. that we needed help — in fact, we needed the First Aid kit! — when I fell, and we sent one of the last few uninjured parties back to the house to get help from Mrs. P, the Mom-in-Charge.  I don’t know how she kept her temper as she had to use the now-infamous First Aid kit to thoroughly mercurochrome a gaggle of whimpering children in her kitchen.  I had never encountered mercurochrome before then, either, and I do NOT remember it fondly.

But the story of that afternoon?  Eventually I realized it would have made a fabulous Marx Brother’s or Monty Python routine….

Aside from the fact that I’ve been chatting with some of the people related to this incident for the first time in we-shall-not-discuss-how-many-years, you might wonder what brings this story to mind.  Well, when you’re ass-over-teacup outside a locked-down building at night, wondering who will be the first to find you and your scraped knees and injured hand, the mind does tend to dredge things like this up…

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We had been trapped for a while at the ceramics lab, watching the rain pelt the big plate glass windows near the ceiling, and then worrying a bit as large hail started bouncing against the glass-walled entrance to the building.  The lightning was spectacular! No, we were not about to leave until there was some sort of lull, and yet we knew we were in a flood-prone area and needed to get back to our home on higher ground.

So, a mad dash to the car, and I had buckets of tools sitting on my lap, rather than putting them in the back hatch of the car, and off we go, negotiating brake-threatening insta-lakes and fallen branches.  Another derecho?  We hoped not…

But it did cross our minds what the last storm did, so we parked across the alley and ran in the back door of the house [cursing the overgrown fig tree, and then apologizing, for lo: it doth bear fruit and mightily so] as fast as we could.

When the branch hit, crashing down from a nearby tulip tree, across the driveway, exactly where the car would have been parked and right through where we had run only 2 minutes before, it shook the house so hard that the bathroom door creaked open, much to the delight of the cats.

[Why do I suddenly feel as if I’ve been reading Faulkner all day?]

I had been meaning to re-think what we had in that section of the garden, but this was not quite how I envisioned getting started.  Not sure if the rosemary or baptisia will forgive me, and dangit the Passionflower had _just_ started blooming after two years apparent celibacy.

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I suppose that should be the title of some art object, but for the moment what it means is that I’m irritated by people who oversell the contents of their research articles.  If you’re not going to really talk about cost control, or if you’re really just describing the study that you’d really really like to run someday, I honestly have no use for you at the moment. 

Get out of my bibliography!  Scat!

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75 degrees, sunny, 30% humidity.  Perfect.

What am I doing inside again?

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…that no one else is here….

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These little pots aren’t mine, but don’t they look amazing with the veil of nearly burned-through aluminum foil?


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I knew the phrase, but certainly didn’t think one of my objects would ever be a beneficiary — yet here is one of my first little projects, a slab-built box with sgrafitto, terra-sig’ed and saggar-fired while wrapped in heavy aluminum foil:

I’d not put any significant amount of combustibles in the box, although there were two old seeds that had been in with the detritus I’d stuck in there….and those seeds survived the fire, somehow ending up plated with aluminum [there were also little spheres of aluminum formed in the base of the box, and the grey crust on the back edge of the box is also probably melted aluminum].

What will the little wave box do next?  It will get a bit of wax, and then sit on my desk, holding pens, or brushes, or dried herbs, I think. And maybe I will make it some friends someday.

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