Way past Cherry Red

shop kilnssitting here contemplating the energy suck of my first glaze firing in my new (to me) Duncan Pro. 28×36″ of pure entropy earth. Luckily I’m only taking my glazes to cone 05 (1000 c/1900 F). Otherwise the little wheel in the electric meter would be whirling around so fast that the thing will likely go spinning off like a frisbee. I’ve upgraded from a 245×24″ EVENHEAT. Tiny little thing. I haven’t seen the bill for any of the power I’m using. Meter reader came by today and didn’t start turning cartwheels or make a ‘cha-china’ sound as she left. It won’t be cheap, and the new kiln will draw a lot more juice. I will also be able to go from an up-down-up firing schedule (one immediately after another- bisque->glaze->bisque) to taking longer breaks. Depending upon how the work flows. Got a new sieve that solves a lot of the chunky problems I’ve had with my glazes. There are a couple of pieces in this glaze load with what I hope to be my new white glaze. Super basic Majolica. Clear and white for now. Colorants as we go.

I have been at this pottery thing for a little while now. They have been logging in the woods behind the house for most of it. When I found out that they were logging back there, I felt gut shot. I’m still upset by the entire notion of logging. Beside myself, if you will. (To put it mildly) Livid approaches my feelings. The new knot under my left shoulder blade coincided with the noises getting a lot louder. They aren’t bothering with Amish and their little horses. These boys (fairly accurate assumption) are fully mechanized. Sounds like a damn tractor pull back there. They are showing the earth what’s what.

Well. As I sit and listen, I’ve been pouring over glaze recipes and firing schedules. Have you once bothered to stop and think about exactly where that all comes from? Giant Mountain Top Removal mines in W Va. Open pit mines in New Mexico and Kentucky. Massive gaping wounds in the ground. Converted into some refined product or other, usually at some great expense of energy. The damage their tractor-pull is inflicting on the land back there is a fart in a windstorm compared to a strip mine or MTR site. The great skidder tracks will be there for decades. The inevitable mountain of sawdust will be a weird mass for maybe that long. But the trees will return. The animals will return. They have no choice really. When the mountain top is dynamited off and bulldozed into the adjacent valley, it’s forever. And as a bonus, it leaks poison forever too. Bingham+Canyon+Kennecott+Copper+Mine+Tour

The Kennecott copper min in Utah will never recover. Not in a human timeframe. That jewel of a pond at the middle actually kills and dissolves the geese that accidentally land in it.

berkeleypit.jpg.CROP.promo-large2

The pond at the bottom of the Berkeley Pit in Butte MT has managed to mutate the microbes living on the geese that died landing in it into something that will eat the poison therein and somehow restore at least some element of normality in, again, not a human amount of time.

about-mine

This last image is just to show that the issue extends to everything. This rich red clay is what is called baseballclay. As in base ball field clay. Unlikely poison forever, it does promise to be gooey for a good long time.

So all my joy of being back at the wheel is tempered by knowing that art is one of the most destructive processes/pastimes ever created by humans. I’m trying to duplicate a pair of cupped hands. The first cop/bowl was attached to our bodies. Once these instruments were created, commodification and the accumulation of wealth followed.

oh yeah, massive environmental destruction slipped in while everyone was watching. I take no pride in my part. I recognize it though. I’m actively seeking local replacements. Local clay with an ash glaze fired with wood in a rocket kiln. There is a slightly less impactful way to do this. Or rather, it is my privilege to be able to find a less impactful process.

To the schleps driving those tractors likely don’t even think about the repercussions of their jobs. What has to happen for the land to begin to recover from their job. Can’t knock them really. They got a eat too. Probably have kids back in the nest waiting with open mouths, FEED ME FEED ME. All caught up in the rat’s race of fishing boats and braces, the Chevy Mustang and new shoes. With not a shed tear or backwards glance when their done for the day. Just hurts knowing. I red the other day that DiCaprio flew 9000 miles to receive some how-wash Environmentalist award.

wut rvr

2 thoughts on “Way past Cherry Red”

  1. yeah, gets hairy though because this is private property. someone else’s private property. Public land is different. I wouldn’t want them coming here and saying I couldn’t make pottery, or that Leah can’t teach. sometimes our role is merely to bear witness and grieve.

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