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kidstuff and experts

updated fri 31 may 96 on fri 3 may 96

We had our first clay class yesterday. I have 4 girls and 2 boys, all
about 10 years old. I didn't even have a chance to explain anything before
they were into their bags of clay and making stuff. It was incredible.
All I was in the end was the fixer-upper, the watcher for potentially
unsuccessful joints and handles and the handler of finished stuff. We made
bowls, cups and the occasional cat (they all got into cats in one way or
another, completely on their own). I essentially stood back and watched
and let 'em at it. One of the boys spent the entire 2 hours on one very
heavy looking "voulkos" dish complete with slashes. The girls were much
more interested in creating patterns, impressing the clay and generally
decorating. The other boy made a beer mug for his Dad! Hmmmm....
Next week we make least that's what it said on the
course outline...;)

I was talking to a friend of mine, a retired minister who wants me to fire
his soapstone carvings in my kiln. He said, "just fire it with your other
pieces and put one of your clear glazes on it. I've had this done before."
I explained to him about vitrification, expansion, fitting a glaze to the
body, etc., etc. He said, "Hmmm, there's more to this than I thought..."
Then he told me a story about visiting friends in Tokyo. He was walking
down the street and there was a man selling little figures with parachutes.
The man would gently toss the figure into the air, and it would go way up,
and float gently to the ground. After watching this, Jack decided this
would be a perfect present for his friends' little boy. So he bought one
of the figures and proudly took it back to their house. But when he tossed
it in the air, THUMP! it went on the floor. He was very disappointed, but
his friends laughed and said, "Jack, you forgot, that man on the street was

One more story...I had to get my cello repaired and this being Hornby
Island, I knew there was SOMEONE who could do it. Sure enough, our
cabinet-maker friend said he'd give it a shot. This guy makes kitchen
cabinets for a living. So I took my cello into his shop and he said, come
back tomorrow. So I returned the next day, into this shop filled with
cabinets in various states of being finished, piles of wood and huge
machines. He had not only fixed the original problem, but identified and
fixed a number of other problems I didn't even know about. He then told me
all about the history of stringed instruments, how they're made, etc., etc.
He told me he'd like to make violins and cellos, but has to wait 'til the
last kid is out of the house before he can "retire". He made a harpsicord
for our Island music festival last year. It was played six times, and
sounds great, and it's sitting in his living room now, unused because he
doesn't play keyboard instruments. He made it simply for the sake of
making a beautiful (and it's absolutely gorgeous - painted in early baroque
style) instrument, and with no expectation of getting money for it.
But he calls himself a cabinet-maker. And when I asked him how
much for repairing my cello, he said, "oh, I don't know...twenty bucks?"

My brain seems to think this is all related to that recent thread about
what we do when we're not potting, and what to call ourselves when we