Even though it’s malleable, clay has limits. I was reminded of this fact in the studio this week. I’ve been making new pieces over the last several weeks. After they have completely dried, I can give them the first firing in the kiln. That’s standard practice. And, it’s most efficient to completely fill the kiln for each firing.
Occasionally, I’ll try to speed up the process. This happens when I haven’t managed my timing well and a deadline looms or I try to add a last minute item to the process. So here’s what happened this past week. I broke a pot I'd bought years ago. It was two bowls attached together. One was slightly larger than the other. It was the perfect size for snacking.
I decided to make my own version and replace this often-used dish. I’ve attached bowls together in past renditions of this idea, but I was looking for a fresh approach this time around. I played with a couple of designs in the studio. Here’s where I made my mistake. I wanted instant gratification, so I tried to dry the samples quickly to include them in a pending bisque firing. I used a dehumidifier overnight to try to quicken the drying process. Wrong move! The seams of several of the pieces came apart.
I really should know better. I’ve made this mistake before. Pushing clay beyond its limits usually results in disaster. Luckily, I’ve learned to move forward without making additional flubs. Before the clay has been fired, it can be recycled. That’s what I do. Instead of spending more time to fix the mistake (which mostly does not work), I start over.
I guess sometimes repeating a mistake is a reminder that pushing certain limits can lead to failure. Learning and moving forward is the best approach. Patching the mistake usually does not work. Adjusting goals and good planning can help foster success. Onward!