thirdsies; in which I attempt to break the title field character limit in WordPress, and start explaining what the hell is going on here.

“I’ve seen you lower the stakes again.” – Indigo Girls

Dear Carter,

So as you know, I’m at this rather famous craft school in NC for a while. (“Don’t be creepy.”) It’s… well, I hate to grasp at the cliche, but it’s pretty amazing.

After getting my stuff moved into the studio, I kind of slept like crap the first night; my subconscious acclimating to a new environment, multiplied by my anxious anticipation about charging into the clay on overdrive. You know how it is.

From the New Yorker’s review of The Hobbit, which I read in the middle of the night, trying to quiet my squirrel brain:

“… our hero is faced with an elemental choice: stay or go? Rest in the consolatory rhythms of hearth and home, marked out by meals and seasons, or break the pattern and take the unknowable risk?”

In other words, the choice between continuing the existing < loop > and starting a new one.

(Note: WP doesn’t like left and right brackets, so I have to label them as “code” for my conventional loop nomenclature to work. Bummer.)

{Day One}

Up; packed, provisions, gear. Out the door to test the overnight forecast of “Ice Pellets”, whatever the hell those are. Fortunately, none seem to have stuck. Brisk walk to the studio, perhaps all of five minutes away. Also amazing. A fine way to start the day, and probably a good primer for my feeble spine. Warm up, dummy.

There’s this wide open — I dunno — “meadow” space here, enclosed on three sides by the campus. Later, sitting on a stone bench, looking out over it, on a mid-morning that would qualify as Spring in Indiana, I’m impressed by the stark, contrasting frame that swath of dead grass makes around the dense trees and worn old mountains beyond. But I ramble.

Studio, 8am. Not bad.

Unpacked, tools ready, wareboards claimed. The taps on the sink are reverse labelled — no self-respecting plumber would ever really put the hot on the right — so, thankfully, warm water for my throwing bucket.

New wheel, new clay, new place, new… almost everything. Except the same old me and a few primary tools I brought form home. New is good. Ten teabowls-yunomis-clay things I can make to warm up my cold chops and leak test my assumed variables and required algorithms. Pottery AI. Not terrible; lifting them off. (Holding off on installing bat pins as long as I can; I knew you’d be proud.)

Coffee shop = perfect. Studio tour = excellent, with just the right overlay of sardonic “now we’re doing a required studio tour” humor. They have everything here I need, and in several cases more than I could have asked for. It’s one well thought out and maintained workspace. Exciting kilns, too; beautiful salt/soda kilns that are going to take about 60 pots to fill. So now I know what I’m shooting for. Let’s go!

Then, small bowls; loose; 1 1/4# or so. (NOT weighing out my clay. I knew you’d be proud.) Medium bowls, even slightly larger, mediumer bowls, and that’s 24 pots before 3pm. 24×3 is more than I’ve done in any recent, reliable memory. Me with motivation, an implied audience, and almost zero distractions. I feel like one third of a Brandon Phillips. That’s going to be a lot of trimming. And decorating; unless I can somehow keep myself from decorating them all. Hmm. Bulk Bag.

I should take some photos.

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