“You did not desert me, my brothers in arms.” – Dire Straits
Dear CG, MK, RP & BP,
Damn, do I ever wish you guys were here. Really. While I completely understand why you’re not, all the ways in which life and timing and money get in the way of such misguided adventures, it would have been such a blast; I almost can’t even imagine. We’re doing this someday, fellas — we have to. Cindy’s next sabbatical is a mere seven years away, so put Feb. 2020 on your calendars, eh?
Which is no knock against any of the people who are here now; it’s an interesting, eclectic bunch and after almost a week, it seems like we’re starting to hit our stride as a group. Getting to know each other; talk about splitting glaze firings. But it’s not the same as it would be with you, with that knowledge of each other’s work and backstory, the varying degrees of Internet friendship we’ve developed over the last few years, the alignment of styles and influences and intent. (And of course, OKG, the quarter million or so words of correspondence we’ve exchanged to date.)
I was really looking forward to seeing how those relationships played out in person; how the group dynamic would work (or not) with the clay spinnin’ and slip flyin’. I’d hoped to learn from you guys, to enjoy shooting the shit in person for a change, to just sit back and watch you work. At various points in the day here, I imagine soliciting your thoughts about my pots and choices I’m making. Like if these mugs I made the other day are as clunky as they seem to me. And if I should deflocculate (or flocculate — damn if I can ever keep those straight, even with the sheep metaphor) my white slip. And about how the different kilns might react to the various clays and glazes on hand and the exciting stuff we could think up to do to exploit them. Ah… it still sounds too utopian to be real.
Then again, maybe it’s better this way. I mean, for one thing, I’m probably much more palatable on screen than in person, especially over a long period of time. And for the love of Gawd, imagine the scarcity of ware boards and traffic jam on the way into the salt kilns. And — oh wow — if you had all made it here, just think of how the fight for the one good treadle wheel would have gone down. I mean, Philbeck I think I could take — he’s a southern gentleman and I have no honor. Kline looks like he has a mean reach, and he might bring that rooster to the ring. Gillies? I’ve got you on age and the quality of circulation in my extremities (or so I hear), but you’re in soccer shape and I’m in — well, pretty much no shape at all. And Phillips? Forget about it. I think he’d break me in half with one hand, while throwing 30 teabowls with the other and talking trash about how the wheel he made was even better than this old Gates’ one he just took from me. [Smash cut to me battered and bruised, quietly weeping over a Brent C.]