Overnight Valentine’s kiln firing…

…may be the worst plan I have ever had as far being a reasonable adult.  However, as I’m sitting here in the wee hours of a February Sunday, there are other things I think about than just how dearly, preciously, I would love to be in bed right now, and how much tomorrow (today) is probably going to be exhausting.  It’s good reflection time, sitting between checks.  I also know I shouldn’t be writing anything right now, it’ll be way too vulnerable in the light of day, but I’m going to do it anyway.

According to recognized sources I no longer count as an ’emerging’ artist- almost 11 years under my belt as a studio artist.  Huh.  So therefor, I must be established, right?  Something.  Trying, I guess, is all anyone can really do.  And I’m proud of where I’m at.  Pictures will be forthcoming.

I’m both proud and a little chagrined that I was mad when we had snow days last week.  I missed my students and I missed the regular time in the studio working with them.  Not that long ago I would have rejoiced in the day free of responsibility and the weight of Educating The Youth in Useful Skills.  Also, not that long ago I was nauseous and anxious prior to every class, even though I liked it a lot.  I don’t know when this shift happened, or even why, really, except that suddenly I really Love teaching these kids clay stuff.  I’m grateful for the change, and doubly grateful to be excited for class each day.  No more nausea, score one for me!

It’s also February, right when New Year’s Resolutions start to fall apart and real life settles back in…  So I think about that, and how there’s this growing idea in me that this could be my perfect life.  Content.  Then I have visions of monumental projects and things that in my secret imaginary life might just change the world.  Or me.  Whatever.  The pretense!  The presumption of grandeur!  I’ll just try to make the #@!! out of some stuff and see what happens.

Also, this being a Sunday in the USA, I think about God and religion and church.  I don’t know how I got out of that steady practice, and it’s not that I don’t enjoy my church community, wholeheartedly…  But here’s this:  When I go out and see the climb in temperature and follow the patterns of the flames through the kiln, and see the different pieces turn from cold shapes to glowing shadows to a sheet of red heat where nothing is really distinguishable…  That feels as much like (G)god as anything to me, and as much like being connected to a larger power as anything I’ve been in touch with.  And I know this god is always there, and has more power than I do at any given moment in the firing, but- check this out- I shut off the gas and god is gone.  Even so, I know I have that experience in me, forever, each and every firing.  I’m not entirely sure what I’m getting at here, but it’s a balance of power, a continuing dialog and relationship.  And when the time comes we both rise to the occasion.  So that’s my steady practice, I guess.

This just occurred to me:  It’s been almost 3 hours since I uttered a word (unless you count singing along to the radio…) and it will probably be at least another 5 before I speak to another human being.  This feels a little bit holy, too.  Silence (sort of) and fire.  Hm.

So, for whatever it’s worth, that’s what happens in my head in the middle of the night, firing a kiln in February.  It seems to come down to this, which has kept leaping to mind in the last few weeks:  It’s not that serious, and it is so much more serious than we ever imagined.  Do the hell out of it.  (Accompanied with a mental fist bump to whoever.)

In any case, life is good.

Off to check the temps and gauge climb and watch the flame.  Oh yes.

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