"Ain't nothin' special 'bout that belt. I bought that belt for 89 cents at the Piggly Wiggly."
I realize my last post made little sense to anyone, but I'm updating it nonetheless. I arrived for work in my professor's dungeon of an office around noon on Friday. Walking through campus, I thought everything appeared to be normal, there were droves of 6th graders trolling around (our outreach program brings them in on Fridays for workshops), everyone was running around, doing their thing. It was a beautiful, clear day, but as I moved toward the studio, I felt queasy. It was too peaceful, I began to worry at the eerie quiet. Since the furnace usually runs 24-7-365, the deafening roar it, and it's accompanying ventillation system, produces gets taken for granted. Until it's not there...
Sure enough, I arrived in a silent, darkened hot shop. There was a smattering of very worried-looking people pacing around the silent, barely glowing furnace. Curt looked pissed, Ethan looked as if he'd been hit by a truck. Apparently Ethan got everything running around 2 a.m., only to have it go out for no apparent reason several times afterward. That does not bode well for the semester, or our budget. Three hours, some serious stress (mainly on the refractory), a new peeper, and everything appeared to be working. Let's keep our fingers crossed. I have a slot this afternoon. The glass will be for shit, but I get the feeling I won't be putting anything away, so no biggie.
I won't be putting anything away because Curt has forbidden us from making objects for awhile. This has pissed off several people in the class, but I know him well enough by now to know what he's up to. He sees we've become slaves to the object, the finished piece, and have thrown the process out the window. For Curt, it is all about the process. I hate to admit, but it is freeing, focusing how to arrive at the finished product, rather than seeing only the product itself. When you pull a piece out of the annealer, it's never as good as you thought it was when you put it away. It laughs at you, with it's lumpy lip, wonky shoulders, and blown-out bottom.
So, for a few weeks, I will be focusing on the process, picking out the parts that suck, and running them into the ground. It will be boring, frustrating, and infuriating at times, but when I revisit "the object," I will do so as the master, rather than the slave.
Or so I tell myself to keep going.
And now for that proverb by Basho:
"Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise; seek what they sought."