I had one of those moments in the studio this week. First I heard a bit of a crack and the next minute the pilot’s wheel of my slab roller was frozen in place with a half-formed hunk of clay caught between the normally fluid rollers. I knew immediately what had happened. I bought my Northstar Slab Roller in 1998. Slowly, over the years, the original plastic roller gears have given out and I’ve replaced them with metal. The last plastic gear standing, had finally had enough this week! I called the company and the replacement part is in the mail on it’s way to me. Northstar has been a fantastic handbuilding tool and the company has been swift with their help and replacements parts that are covered under warranty all these years later. Of course, this time of year I'm in peak production preparing for shows, so any glitch can be frustrating.
No worries. I fell back to making a slab the old-fashioned way -- with a rolling pin and lots of muscle! I can continue to produce in the studio until the slab roller replacement part arrives. The tools and equipment we use daily become so intertwined in our lives. It is hard to remember how we managed before faxes, computers and smart-phones. The lesson I was reminded of in the studio this week is that the equipment we use in our lives is just a tool and only offers one way of reaching the end result. Sometimes it's good to take a step back and use some of those old-fashioned tools to achieve the same goal. Use a pen and paper to create a handwritten note and send it in the (snail) mail to a loved one instead of a text. I bet the reaction you get will be positive!
Here are some pieces I made recently awaiting their glaze and final firing for completion. The colors of the underglaze after the first bisque firing are much different from the final result.