Linda Pahl on mon 1 mar 04
> Moral of the story, if I don't like the pot, I don't want anyone else
> like it either. It haunts me. Every piece that goes in the trash now
> gets the hammer treatment.
I related to your story of your trashed pots turning up being happily
I live in an apartment building and usually throw my trash down the
incinerator. Not wanting to throw breakables down the chute I put them
in a plastic bag and brought them down and dropped them in the garbage
bins used for this purpose. Well, many months later I came to know a
neighbor and was invited in for coffee.
There, sitting in the center of the table was a lovely vase filled with
gorgeous flowers. I told her how I admired the form and how the glaze
looked familiar. I asked if I might take a closer look. When I did,
imagine my surprise when I realized it was one of mine that I had
thrown away many months before (I can't even remember *why* it was
unacceptable to me). She then proudly told me that her mother had been
visiting and had stayed for a month and had given her the lovely vase
as a parting gift. Go figure. (I'm not even going near the "gift"
from her mother part of this.)
This has happened a few more times since then and I have even found
someone holding onto a large Raku lamp that had fallen over and
cracked. I tossed it, of course, and again was surprised to see it
sitting on shelf in another neighbor's apartment. I asked why they had
a "crackpot" hanging around and they told me that they had found it
near the trash and had to stop and look it over. They said they liked
the look of the pot, brought it home and just liked having it to look
Another time I was on my way down to the basement to unload a group of
bowls that I just did not like at all and before the elevator came
another neighbor came by and said she really liked these bowls and
wondered where I bought them. I told her that I was a potter and had
made them but that I was not happy with how the glaze turned out on
these and was looking to give them away. She snapped them up and
thanked me and asked me to please check with her if I have any other
That taught me not to throw away my unacceptable (to me) pots any more.
Now I leave my rejects "near" the trash and am amazed at how fast they
are picked up!
It doesn't haunt me in the same way as it does you, though. Instead,
it humbles me and makes me feel grateful that something that I made is
appreciated by someone. I've even found that as time passes and I see
these pots in my neighbors' apartments I grow to appreciate them too.
Linda Pahl, Kew Gardens, New York
Gene and Dolita Dohrman on mon 1 mar 04
Just a few stories on this topic. When I was not perfectly happy with a =
piece, it went straight to the trash. I began to notice some of my =
discarded pieces showing up in my friend's garden. He was also the =
Master Potter. When I asked him what he was doing with them, he said =
that when he went diving (remember, I am the one from the island), he =
would put the pots in the ocean to be used as octopus homes. I had no =
problem with that. A couple of months later I was at a party (again, on =
the same island) and heard a woman talking about all these pots that she =
had been finding. I interrupted the conversation and asked her where =
she was 'finding' these pots and she thought it was hilarious that she =
was finding them while diving. She described a couple of them and I =
recognized they were some of mine. I was pretty ticked off, but what =
could I say?
Another incident happened recently. Had what I call a 'belly-button' =
pitcher come out of the kiln that had run onto the shelves. Since the =
shelf had been coated, it came off in tact. My friend wanted me to =
grind the bottom. I decided I did not want to, was not happy with the =
pot anyway. Threw it in the trash. I was walking to the studio and =
passed someone's office. There it was on the head of the department's =
desk! I went in and picked it up right in front of her and she said she =
loved it but I could have it back if I wanted. Of course, I didn't want =
it so I put it back down.
Moral of the story, if I don't like the pot, I don't want anyone else to =
like it either. It haunts me. Every piece that goes in the trash now =
gets the hammer treatment.
Dolita-who hates the fact that a hammer must be part of my studio tools!
wayneinkeywest on mon 1 mar 04
First, I freely admit that I do not sell my work. Given
away to friends mostly, since I don't depend on it for
an income. Only really cared for one piece I've
ever made (being my own worst critic) and it got
dropped and destroyed....That being cleared up...
One way to handle "seconds" would be to decide that
one does not like the piece. The second step then,
would be to grind off your signature, so that it could
not be traced back to you. :>)
After that., let the universe have it. (give it, throw it
drown it, bury it, but don't smash it.) Creativity and
destruction are yin and yang... self-cancelling.
That piece might be looked at someday, admired as
"I don't know where she got it, but it was my
great-grandmother's favorite piece of pottery" and really
_mean_ something to the possessor...
or it could be glanced at and inspire a truly lovely
work by another artist, perhaps in a totally different medium.
The universe works in some mighty strange ways,
and it has a wicked sense of humor, folks.
I am reminded of that every time I open the kiln.
"The future is the past with a twist...and better tools"
Gillian Whittle on mon 1 mar 04
I too have a firm policy to hammer anything that I feel is truly
irredeemable. Since I focus on original hand-carved tiles, my displeasure is
usually based on aesthetics rather than function or safety issues. My studio
is part of a larger community studio and I really don't want to have a piece
"rescued" if I've decided it's really not good enough to go out into the
world with my name on it. So if, after serious thought, I decide to destroy
it, I usually find it very cathartic to hammer the piece to bits. Other
potters at the studio shake their heads sometimes, but I think it lets me
emotionally let go of the work. (One thing I always do before swinging the
hammer is to take a picture of the piece so that I can see what's worked and
Hope Tree Pottery
St. John's NL
Dolita Dohran wrote:
"Moral of the story, if I don't like the pot, I don't want anyone else to
like it either. It haunts me. Every piece that goes in the trash now gets
the hammer treatment.
Dolita-who hates the fact that a hammer must be part of my studio tools!"
Merrie Boerner on mon 1 mar 04
If my seconds are not broken, I put them in the crawl space under my house.
There is plenty of room there. Some day the trash may become treasure.
Picture it....in about 2040.....my grandkids can tell crazy stories about
me, and maybe even make some money off the weirdness. Happens lots in
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Kathy Forer on tue 2 mar 04
On Mar 1, 2004, at 12:20 PM, Gene and Dolita Dohrman wrote:
> Another incident happened recently. Had what I call a 'belly-button'
> pitcher come out of the kiln that had run onto the shelves. Since the
> shelf had been coated, it came off in tact. My friend wanted me to
> grind the bottom. I decided I did not want to, was not happy with the
> pot anyway. Threw it in the trash. I was walking to the studio and
> passed someone's office. There it was on the head of the department's
> desk! I went in and picked it up right in front of her and she said
> she loved it but I could have it back if I wanted. Of course, I
> didn't want it so I put it back down.
To a non-potter, an accidental error can be the opening into an
appreciation for a form or technique.
For whatever confounded reasons, pottery was not on my radar as a
handmade object, though clay always was close at hand. Either it was
the Washington Vase Mulberry transferware or the Tea Leaf and Wheat
Ironstone my mother collected, also yellow ware and zebra-type ware
etc., or even my grandmother's Arabia of Finland Tapestry brown, or the
Greek vases in the museum that were seen as canvases for painting, even
the fabulous broken amphorae as relics from another time, or the sherds
we'd dig up as textures and found objects, pottery was china and
antique or utterly practical, similar to furniture, or ancient and
iconic, or found and abstract. It didn't come alive for me that easily
except some of the damaged pieces. Maybe it was the fire that did it,
put it in another realm. Before I was vouchsafed entree to the
incredible full range of clayart, the few pieces of pottery I had that
let me know they were made by an individual could probably be
considered such seconds.
A chipped lip or handle, a blurred or wronged glaze. It was the
imperfection that allowed me to see inside, to the beauty and the life.
I can't miss it now, though there's much to learn about seeing and
> Moral of the story, if I don't like the pot, I don't want anyone else
> to like it either. It haunts me. Every piece that goes in the trash
> now gets the hammer treatment.
I used to have tantrums and destroy my work, not too many but enough to
make me wince now. Not the seconds either, but the firsts. I was
thinking "if no one likes my work, they can't have it or see it, I'll
keep it all to myself." A nonsensical inner dialogue,
attention-getting, though no one else knew! and self-defeating. Not
quite the same as smashing rejects, but still, ruthlessly or just
casually trashing seconds smacks of the same cycle. Being too caring
can be careless as well.
But hey if someone out there is a student, smash one for me!
It's also hard to tell just what is good when you're right there.
Sometimes time or distance will show you a direction you missed. Often
it's the accidents that open the way, for you and for others.
To twenty unique pots an hour! Kathy
John Jensen on tue 2 mar 04
At Christmas we have what we call an "Orphan Pot" sale at the school.
We glaze every little bit of bisque ware that is cluttering up our
shelves and offer it for sale. In addition, I contribute a lot of my
Everything sells! Dollar mugs, fifty cent bowls, strange little
misshapen pots perfect to hold a few earrings for a quarter. People seem
to love pottery, and buy anything if the price is right...like ten cents
on the dollar.
John Jensen, Mudbug Pottery
email@example.com , http://www.toadhouse.com
Lee love on tue 2 mar 04
Merrie Boerner wrote:
>If my seconds are not broken, I put them in the crawl space under my house.
>There is plenty of room there. Some day the trash may become treasure.
>Picture it....in about 2040....
You could ask Tony to go look and see if the pots are still there in the
crawl space. By his posts, he is apparently communicating with us from
Lee In Mashiko
"With Humans it's what's here (he points to his heart) that makes
the difference. If you don't have it in the heart, nothing you make will
make a difference." ~~Bernard Leach~~ (As told to Dean Schwarz)
foxpots on wed 3 mar 04
Hi Fellow Clay Arters,
My seconds, that aren't too bad, go to people who help me with chores I find
impossible to do alone.
My seconds, that are yucky, go into a
mini-creek-water-coming-down-from-the-ridge-drainage area outside my studio
window. I call it my "Graveyard For Old Dead Pots". You should see people
scrambling around in there looking for treasures! Originally, I had
intended it for my history (archaeologist digs up 2 million year old pot),
but not too many stay there.
Jean Wadsworth Cochran
Krista Peterson on fri 5 mar 04
Paintings and drawings store very nicely. Pots don't, they take up a lot of=
space and at some point, you run out of space and have to get rid of them.=
Most people aren't as critical as I am and they appreciate the work that =
I don't. As I was getting rid of things to move I had to get rid of all my =
work that didn't sell or were what I consider to be crap. It was around xma=
s time so i got a bunch of wrapping paper and scrounged boxes and wrapped e=
ach piece in pretty paper and bows. I took all the packages and loaded them=
into my car at 3 am and placed them all over town, at bus stops, in parks =
etc. I did it at 3 am because I didn't want anyone to see me and ask questi=
ons. The next day they were all gone and now I enjoy musing over who got th=
em and where they are and if I will ever come across them again. It was a l=
ot of fun. Maybe I'll see one at a thrift store or maybe I'll meet someone =
someday that has the piece(this has happened before but slightly less rand=
om than abandoned gifts). I think I would be more excited about the synchro=
nicity of finding these pieces again than embarrassed at having them out in=
the world. My tastes are kind of out of synch with the rest of the world a=
nyways, so what the hell do I know? Sometimes I put little sculptures in tr=
ees. It takes a little longer for those to disappear.=20