Doing difficult things can take a while. Doing impossible things, well that just takes a bit longer.
Several years ago, doing pottery again, it just seemed impossible. However, I set a goal to go after it anyway. And then, little by little, I got closer, and closer. It still felt like I was a snail crossing the freeway in the hot sun.
However, after sourcing parts from Portland to Boston to Canada, I refurbished my 43 year old Crusader kiln with new elements and new connectors and a couple new bricks. After all these years together, it responded to my love and kindness, by blowing . . . itself . . . up!!!
And then I had to have hand surgery. (I have a good friend, who's a professional potter. He had surgery on a finger once. He also broke his leg once. He said if he had to do one of them again, he'd go for the broken leg.) Fortunately, my hand surgeon had warned me ahead of time, that after the surgery it was "gonna hurt like Hell." I was still staggered by how badly it hurt. It didn't help matters that I lived with the toughest woman on earth. She broke her leg in four places, and separated her ankle joint, in remote Idaho, and crawled out. And then she overcame cancer; not once, but twice. I was told once, "I know who you live with. You gotta have more in the tank than all this whining about your hand." As you can understand, sympathy was in short supply, for my situation.
But if you just hold on and don’t give up, sometimes, with the help of others, something that matters to you, comes together.
And here I am, again, a potter. I am an older potter for sure, but I think I'm overall much better now, than former periods of pot making.
And one of the lessons learned is that some shenanigans can avoided. Some by preparation and paying attention. Some can be deflected by skill, or luck, or cunningly good looks. (Well, on that last one, at least that's what they tell me.)
But the kiln gods are touchy. They bless you for only so long, and then, every so often, they require a sacrifice. That's the simple potting truth. No dodging it. In my experience, the sacrifices they pick, are almost always the ones that have been worked on the hardest, or anticipated the most, or made under a promise to deliver, under a host of conditions.
So, I'll warn all customer ahead of time, I am reluctant to promise anything under deadline. After all I was a snail metaphor a few sentences back right?
". . . Failure with clay was more complete and more spectacular than with other forms of art. You are subject to the elements . . . Any one of the old four - earth, air, fire, water - can betray you and melt, or burst, or shatter - months of work into dust and ashes and spitting steam. You need to be a precise scientist, and you need to know how to play with what chance will do to your lovingly constructed surfaces in the heat of the kiln."
-- A.S. Byatt