Saturday, January 21, 2012

Austerity Measures

The last month has been one of finishing orders for pottery that i have promised people (including throwing a secret order for a special gift, no hints though) and waiting. Life on the pottery wheel is very cyclical, the january making of fresh new work, spring shows and getting back to the 'market' and trying to fill the gallery before i need to spend time out in the garden to start my food off right. Then summer with the weeks full of riding too and from markets and keeping the sun shade in front of the window down but, pots dry well and turn around much faster than during the rainy season. Fall brings a winding down of markets and a new fever pitch of making pots that must be ready for the seasonal shows which may do incredibly well or tank horribly and cost a lot of money. Then there is that tiny break between the last show and january...that's when i can stop; breathe and read books about clay and ideas and my kilns get a break and the skin on my hands grows back (along with my tolerance for people touching my work, which is amazingly resilient). But that sweet little break this year has been superseded by another situation that needs a lot of time and thought, actually it would have been nice to take a break from thinking about it but more on that below.

Now, one of my goals for each year is to work hard enough and plan well enough to be able to pay the studio rent without stress all year round and pay for clay and the odd ball of wool for a new sweater. It also included buying a workhorse bike that can take the disgusting road grit/slush/sand/mud/towing weight/salt and keep on going. It came from cycle therapy who understands me and my needs and they try hard to set things up for me. They also understand that i need to make hand-me-downs from 'bike dave' work, which includes me getting his old garmin computer so that i can keep track of my kms on each bike with the push of a button (as we have all learned recently: i judge my life by how far i go on two wheels). 'Training week dave' was kind enough to set up my new/old computer on my commuter bike last night with a half hour orientation to the new success-measuring-device.

Back to the distraction of the past two months. Dave and i have decided to enlist the help of highly trained professionals in vancouver in the acquisition of a viable zygote made from our genetic material. This may seem simple enough but the constant thought-salad swirls around making a mess in my mental rooms. When i first quit my job with the cfd and started potting full time, i laughed that most of the throwing water was tears and i got really good at wiping my face with my shoulder (thank you yoga for the flexibility) instead of my muddy sticky hands. Now i am once again potting for peace and quiet.

It is much like cycling in that you can make a plan (throw 40 secret pots for an order) and then the day unfolds beautifully, reclaim some clay, open a fresh bag of sweet smelling earth, measure out the weight of balls that will work based on some practice pots, wedge them, put them away in the new tub (thanks to a new idea from reading books about clay studios), layer with plastic, get a batt and throw the first one... which leads to blissful hours outside of the thought-salad.

You feel the coldness of the fresh ball of clay, feel the smack of it hitting the wheel and then the slightly warm water as i swish the sponge through it, squeeze most of the water out of the sponge and lean into the soft clay as it turns on the wheel. i can feel the wind come off my machine as it reaches top speed for just a second and then feel my body straighted up and the wheel slow down as the clay chooses to cooperate and become the little pot that i had imagined.

In that moment of thoughtless peace, the wheel, the clay and i are one thing, the idea becomes the shape and i feel like i can prove that i existed in that moment because there is a memento of it. This is so much like riding my bike, you make a plan, go to coffee on the moon and take fresh mugs for the display, so i take the bike down, lube the chain, make sure i have a repair kit (made entirely of old bits bike-dave no longer needs) and get dressed for the weather, eventually i am required to do only one thing: turn those pedals, watch for people trying to kill me with their cars, turn those pedals (faster according to the bike shop dave) and then there it is, my goal, i am at my coffee shop or the bank, or my girlfriend's house or the recycling place, you get the idea.

The process of acquiring a chance at kids is very challenging. Since we started letting people know about things, we have been shown such love and tenderness, friends that were too painful to chum around with, family and casual people alike have shared their experiences and kindness with us offering help and encouragement.

I listen to cbc a lot and heard about a study of post surgical outcomes of two groups of patients; one had a support group thinking well of them/praying and the other didn't. The people with support thoughts healed better, got out of bed faster, had better moods and went home sooner. It is that, that i feel from others.

Training-week-dave and i went to see our gp yesterday and were helped, comforted and encouraged all at the same time. i expressed concern about the money we are spending and he shared some words of advice that warmed my austere soul. The word 'safe' came out of my mouth twice, and it was interesting to hear...i am safe, dave and i will go on no matter what happens, we have a home and an amazing marriage, a good job and a successful art studio, we have time for each other and have been able to cut back coffee together to one cup a day. We have complete trust, we protect each other from the world and ourselves, we laugh a lot (i actually got to see myself laughing from the inside and it made me laugh even more) we have patience earned honestly-the old fashioned way, most of all we share a deep love the kind in movies or read about in old books, a scene of an unbelievably old man struggling to open the heavy door for a amazingly old woman and then waiting while she shuffles through it, brushing against her gently and smiling as aging memories flood his aging mind.

We have love, patience and humour. What more could two people ask for?

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