I came to the studio one day, excited about larger piece I'd been working on for weeks. It was on it's last stage of drying and I was looking forward to seeing it move ahead in the final drying process, already imagining how I'd be giving it color and how to best show it at our art show coming up April 3-14.
Well, I came in, turned up the heat from the night-time temperature, hung my jacket and moved into my space, turning on lights and beginning to lift the plastic draped over the piece. Immediately, I could tell there was a problem. As I put my hand to the plastic at the base of the piece to lift it up, I could tell there was a problem. My stomach turned and my pulse quickened. This was not good. I should not be feeling any loose "stuff" here! As I worked at lifting the plastic I knew it was serious. When I'd removed the it I saw what you see above! One and a half of the sides of the piece had fallen off and down, crumbled and broken into pieces. That was the loose stuff I'd been feeling! Ouch. I just stood and looked at that for a long time.
It was over! The clay was dried beyond repair. After a certain stage of drying, it can no longer be dampened. It just crumbles! It was all well past that stage. On the right, is one whole side broken and disconnected from each other and one side of the piece. The other half side was in small chunks. I'll tell you it took a long time to accept it. If felt so surreal.
I've had some disasters, but nothing like this. I knew why it happened and hoped I'd dealt with the issues, but apparently the huge piece was of such different levels of dryness that the differences in shrinkage during the drying time just pulled it apart! Now, I know that if I ever try this again, I do need to create the many different pieces and put them together in a more controlled way, mostly at the same time, all being at a similar level of dryness! I'd put the basic inside part together first and the hanging outside parts later. I'd rushed the process and now had to pay the consequences! Respecting the clay....is what I did not do!
The problem was, this was to be the center-piece of new material for the show, possibly, even the only new piece, depending on the course of my life (time in the studio) leading up to the show! But that's another story!
What a mess! OK, I think I feel better now that it's all out there, but here's the thing. I had a problem, what do I do about my art show now?
Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid
only by saying nothing, doing nothing and being nothing."