Make dilemmonade.

Last night the salt kiln’s first firing had to be aborted due to frozen tanks and maybe a short stack, but it was really exciting to be standing there watching the creature we had built last summer, bricked up and breathing fire. The bricks used to be Diana’s kiln in Canada, and it’s truly a phoenix — even if was a few hundred degrees short of rising all the way out of the flames, reborn. My teacher says we learn from our failures… I’m taking notes about what changes we’ll make.

We’re revved up and want to refire, soon. I have offered to park my pop-up out there for a warm place with coffee, a table for cards, and beds for sleeping in shifts, if it comes to that.

This morning I woke to the kids, standing by my bed, looking stricken. Apparently they had been wrestliing around and crashed into the box of pots I brought home to finish last night — two big faceted jars awaiting lids are now history.

I’d love to say I leapt from bed smiling and said something positive, but I’m a quart low on Mary Poppins this morning. There was a lot of grumbling as I stumbled around trying to get my day going, stuck between the need to ride herd on my little homeschoolers, and the need to produce some work — and fast — for the gas kiln Patrick, Reem and I are supposed to load and fire next week. I have a private student coming at 3:30, and teach at the guild tonight, so there were just not going to be enough hours in the day.

I started my coffee, and walked out across the frosted lawn to the studio. There was a thin skin of ice across the bat-washing tub under my rain barrel, and my Brent looked cold and forlorn on the deck. (The CI, my student wheel, is inside where it’s warm.) So I had a brainstorm.

I went back in to the new sunroom, where the boys were getting out their books at the table, and laid a tarp on the (still unfinished) landing. (It’s cement, and cement board, awaiting the hand made tiles I will magically have time to make one day.) I brought in my wheel and laid ware boards along the edge of the landing, scooted the armchair table over to where I could help Molly with her schooling, and brought in the broken pots as a visual reminder.

So I have been throwing all morning, and just took a break for lunch. The wheel can’t stay where it is, but for today, this setup seems to have solved both problems.

The kids still felt bad, but I said, “Hey, look. They are just pots. I can make more. Diana wants me to make a series of every form, so I’ll just call those broken ones my practice runs, and go from there.” They seemed to think that was a good plan, and quit looking guilty.

Gotta go. More coffee, more pots, multiplying fractions and antonyms and synonyms.

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