Archive | Personal tangents

Deep thoughts on a Monday morning

Earlier this year, many of us in the equine collectibles industry pulled together to help a dear friend with her husband’s medical bills. The response grew into something way beyond what any of us expected, but while all this love and effort worked to restore our friend’s financial security, it could not conquer such a deadly form of cancer.

This left those with outstanding donations in a quandary. This was especially puzzling when it came to what to do with the outstanding pieces of the Terra Cotta Tile Project. Like many, I still had a handful to glaze and even more left to “festoon“. What was the right thing to do now that they could no longer serve their original purpose? Equally important, what decision might best preserve the value of the pieces in the project which had been sold as collectibles?

Yesterday those of us involved in the project received word that we were to destroy whatever unfinished, unadorned tiles were left in our possession. By the close of the day, I had done exactly that. I knew it would be hard. Destroying handmade items is not something I find easy, but it was all the harder for me because I knew what went into them. Coming from my faith tradition, these tiles were what we would call “widow’s pennies”. That is the parable where Jesus instructs his followers that the penny given by the poor widow is worth more then the entire fortune of a wealthy man. What comes from someone’s bounty is not worth the same as what comes from someone’s poverty. I knew those tiles had been made over long hours by someone who was herself facing horrible financial threats, yet still she was donating her time (and therefor her income) to someone else. It seemed a horrible sin to literally smash all that generosity – all that sacrifice.

But it also made me think about starting over with clean slates. As most of my friends and customers know, I am perpetually overcommitted and almost always falling behind. After losing more time than I expected earlier this year following my surgery, that normal situation has snowballed. This motivated me to set into motion some changes that will allow me a more sane level of responsibilities, but my to-do list is still a discouraging read at the moment. Literally smashing one small commitment was a good reminder for me not to replace the jobs I am finishing with new obligations. I’ve placed the broken heart from one of the tiles on my whiteboard (the one where I write my daily task list) to remind myself how hard this lesson is for me to learn!

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Summer time!

All the kids have been away at camp these last few weeks, including my pony, Sprinkles. The barn where I board her hosts a summer camp, and we thought it would be a good experience for her. She is a favorite among the campers, and certainly loves all the attention. In the picture above, she’s been “decorated” with Carolina blue handprints for the show the kids put on for the last day of camp.

Of course she also needed lots of blue ribbons to complete the picture!

She is also – finally – roaning out. Sprinkles is a suppressed leopard, which means that over time her forehand will roan out to reveal more spotting until she more closely resembles a true leopard. In the right light, the spotting on her face is now visible but I decided to wait until she wasn’t done up in blue paint to try to get those pictures.

Everyone being occupied with camp meant that the house has been really quiet, so I took advantage and logged some long hours in the studio. Unfortunately for the purposes of the blog, much of that time was spent cleaning the mounds of greenware that had accumulated. Just as I occasionally find the clutter in the studio is more than I can tolerate, I reach my limit with the castings. It isn’t very interesting for the purposes of blogging, but clearing the greenware shelves is great for a sense of accomplishment. (This was a good way to combat the frustration I have felt about not being able to finish the books in time for this year’s BreyerFest.)

In addition to clearing the shelves, I also made a fun discovery about a small project I had abandoned sometime last year. It had not worked as I envisioned it, so I set it aside. It turns out to be perfect for another application. Once the final results are out of the kiln (with luck, that will be tomorrow) I will post it.

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