I’m like, hey, Caitlin, you think I could get one of you guys to make me six bowls so I can push words into them? I have this idea for my fourth annual Black Friday lovepost to Steely Dan.
Caitlin says, sure, how big you want them. You want six? I can do six.
She did. She made six bowls while we talked about how deep, how wide, what to use for the letters. Important things.
A couple years into this job it still knocks me out how people who spend time here jump right into it like that. They don’t bother with “why.” Not “why bowls?” or “why six?” or “do you think Steely Dan finds it creepy that you do a thing like this every year?” or anything. Everybody just gets right to the things that matter, they offer some help, and then they get back to their own thing that matters.
If you have a workplace like that, or a family like that, or a posse or whatever you have, spend a lot of time there. It is amazing. If you don’t have people like that of your own, but you’d like some, you can come hang out with ours. It’s the whole point.
Anyway. Couple hours later, bowls!
Caitlin tells me to wait until they’re leather-hard and then do the lyrics. I don’t know what “leather-hard” means, though, and turns out it’s a not what I thought, so the first line is sloppy. See the fingerprints on “gonna?” Turns out it doesn’t work to smudge away the first attempt and start over. But, you know, what’s done is done, and I’ve watched the people who hang around here turn screw-ups into fine fine things, so I find myself a paintbrush and go at it.
The clay gets drier and the lyrics start looking better.
A little better.
Then I get cocky.
Also, it gets late. Midnightish late. Kind of expected this to be a quick thing, when Caitlin got started around 7 p.m. It probably could have been quick. Except that it felt so good, and silent, and, you know, the world falling away and all that.
Just the quiet and the clay and the sweetest damn set of letters.
By now it’s reeeeally late and I clean the place up like I’ve watched them do in here, put my six bowls on the shelf to keep drying, lock up. Head home. Start wondering why I’ve never tried this. Like, what would happen if I did more of this.
Couple blocks later, St. Peter’s finest pulls me over. He goes, ma’am, you know you don’t have your lights on? Where you comin from?
“The Arts Center. I’m the director there.”
I don’t know why I added that. Upon reflection, I don’t think it elevated the Arts Center’s stature or my own.
The officer was cool, just let me go, also pointed out my driver’s side bulb was out and said to drive home with the brights on so I wouldn’t not-see any deer.
It’s a really supportive community for the arts we have here. Incredibly supportive. I didn’t ask whether he was a Steely Dan fan. Probably he was. Probably I didn’t ask because, you know, a person can only take so much bliss and still drive home.
Get your own bowls — and vases, vessels, platters, cups, things you had no idea you needed — at This Show is For Sale at The 410 Project, an invitational of functional pottery curated by Juana Arias. Reception tonight 7-9 p.m., and everything is for sale to take with you right then and there. Like, the $20-$50 range. So do-able. Such beauty. Happy shopping.