Looking at an Empty Shelf

Stand back – I’m going to vent and it might get messy. Not really. It actually got very clean and will get even cleaner if that is possible.

The ceramics studio is having a studio wide clean out. There has been an edict posted, emailed, snail mailed, and announced in person to every person entering the studio. I have been informed and reminded numerous times that as of July 27th there will be NO wet clay work in the studio. The last bisque firing will be on August 1st. The last glaze firing will be on August 10th. All completed work must be picked up by August 17th. Sounds reasonable. But I have a punch card for 6 sessions (at $10 each) and this schedule means I will have 3 sessions in which I can’t play with clay. It will cost me $10 to go in and glaze a piece. It will cost me $10 to go in and pick up a piece. And then there is the shelf clean off. My shelf must be cleaned off – that is completely bare by August 17th. I have 20 years worth of stuff stored in a very compact and organized space. I have begun the removal of my equipment. I will be removing the rest tonight. Since I’ve had to tote it home I’m considering if I want to ever haul it back.

My shelf is 30″ long and 24″ deep. The shelf height (for me) is 20″. The word is that the shelves are being dismantled and after the floor is cleaned they will be reassembled. The theory being spouted is that the shelves are of various sizes (heights) and they are going to make them all the same size. The plan is not being carried out by engineers. The people in charge are artists, specifically artists who do not have a clue about shelving units. This plan would work if A) the shelving units were all the same manufacturer and B) they were all the same width and C) used the same size bolts. As it is I foresee disaster. The shelves will be taken apart and all the pieces stacked on the tables. The bolts will be gathered and chucked into a bucket. Once the shelves themselves have been washed and dried (causing a huge reshuffling of parts) and the floor cleaned, there will be that moment when someone starts putting them back together. And they won’t get it right. And because they took so long to clean the floor and walls and shelves, there isn’t much time before the next session starts. We will come into the studio and there will be only half (if we are lucky) of the shelves put together. We will be assigned half a shelf with a promise of the shelves being reassembled soon. Soon will be a parental soon – which means maybe never. That will lead to the ceramics students joining the ranks of the jewelry, wood carving, painting, and stain glass students who tote their supplies and equipment to and from the studio every week. Sure we will be able to store a couple bags of clay on the shelf but we will have to keep the bulk of our tools in the trunks of our vehicles or at home. *sigh* I’m laying a cash money bet on this prophesy. If I win, Sparky is setting up a kiln for me in the basement!

If you have read this far I will reward you with the following tidbit. It is a mixed clay body using white stoneware and brown stoneware in equal parts. It is glazed in Mamo Yellow with Grass Green on the interior. The rims are left unglazed. It is a representation of the coccolith Syracosphaera sp. orbiculus from the East Equatorial Atlantic ocean.

The little white bar in the lower left is a 1 micron measure for scale. For reference a human red blood cell is about 8 microns across…


16 thoughts on “Looking at an Empty Shelf

    1. Thanks! I thought it looked good. I started a new orb but I doubt I’ll have it ready in time to glaze. It will probably need to come home with me until the next session.


  1. That’s a pretty cool piece. And sorry, I had to chuckle some as you described the upcoming process. “The plan is not being carried out by engineers. The people in charge are artists, specifically artists who do not have a clue about shelving units.” My experience has been that even if a logical, engineering type mind exists in a group, few people like to let them be in charge. 🙂 While often simplifying things in the long run, their plan has too many steps and details and sounds like too much work. 🙂 So, we suffer through the chaos of not having a workable plan and who knows, maybe end up with a kiln in our basement. 😀


    1. I really hope they can pull it off but I’m skeptical. Most of the engineers I know lack a forceful nature and are socially awkward enough that they step back and let others lead.


  2. I hope you don’t take offense at the criticism but…you’re not really very good at this venting thing. Your writing lacks the bombastic vitriol coupled with expletives and threats of retaliation that a truly memorable vent usually includes. That said, I do feel your pain and I suspect Sparky will feel it in spades if he has to build a kiln in the basement.


    1. I suppose my venting is of a more genteel nature than most people’s style. Plus I have lots of practice keeping a mental/verbal filter in place. I did once tell someone that they were as appealing as a dead otter. In the same rant I might have suggested that the dead otter had better personal hygiene… But that was a long time ago.


    1. The little bar is on the black & white photo in the lower corner. That coccolith is about 2 red blood cells wide. Sparky is not anxious to set up the kiln. He is worried that our home owner’s insurance will go up – a lot!


  3. Cool piece. I’m betting Sparky best be getting ready for that kiln in the basement. LOL. I hate that they are having all this ‘uproar’ and you are having to move things. I’d hate to keep the bulk of my stuff in my car..doesn’t seem practical at all. I hope it all works out. I’m sure..if you are like me, you enjoy getting out of the house and having a separate place to create.


    1. Yes I like having a place away from home and the little nagging tasks that would prevent me from working (folding laundry, loading/unloading the dishwasher, reading the paper). Also clay is very messy! I wouldn’t like to have to deal with the clay dust and the mud. However if I have to I will…


  4. Sparky is probably right about the insurance going up-and up-and up. There needs to be either an uprising or a whole group showing up to help put the shelves back-as they were. Take photos of the shelves, before they are dismantled, and send copies to the “organizers”, as a subtle hint!


  5. I think you need to have a home ceramic studio all of your own! I love the photo of the orb…. I do wonder how big it is….softball or standard baseball?


    1. Perhaps but the mess is a big issue – clay dust is hazardous to your health and having it in the basement means it would be circulated through the house… As for this orb it is about the size of a grapefruit.


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