Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Learning Slow

Sorbet bowls stacked

Teabowls, canisters, and mixing bowls

Or should I say slow at learning? Or learning to be slow?

This has been a very intense week for me. Between preparing for surgery, finishing orders and trying to get projects finished in the house... I have been going non-stop. While working on installing two new ceiling fans I realized I had to stop. Not because I wanted to, or because I was done... but rather because I had hit a wall and had no idea how to finish the project. Wiring has never been easy for me, but I enjoy the problem solving aspect. This was a toughie though. Lots of odd permutations of three-way switches and too many wires for the boxes. So I sat down and stared at it. For hours. I stopped working at 10pm, after nearly 4 hours of sweating and trying to bludgeon my way through. Two hours later I woke up and called my construction-guru Lee. After ten minutes I had a completely new approach. Solved the problem. Next morning Nancy and I finished off the fans, wrapped it all up, and sure enough, it worked PERFECTLY.

What did I learn? Slow is a good thing. Go slow. Learn from the slowness.

I had planned on getting a glaze firing through on Friday. Didn't happen. Three orders are waiting to ship... waiting on pots from this firing. Instead of rushing things, I waited till Sunday to fire. I had more energy, more time to glaze pots, more time to ensure I wasn't missing something. This morning I got to unload the kiln at 7am. What a gorgeous firing! Everything I needed for the orders turned out great. Such a relief.

I have been needing to take pictures of things in progress in the studio for weeks. Now that Dana and Justin are gone I find it a lot harder to get the camera out. We share a love for taking pictures... and without their feedback, I find it much harder to take the time to play. (play meaning take pictures, experiment, try new stuff)

To that end, I played today. I took my new light diffuser, set it on the stand and rigged it so that I could filter some of the light in the kiln room. Made the images very different. I think, as I slow down, I am starting to see the light differently. Our eyes crave contrast. Not sure why. Probably has to do with pattern recognition. But our camera sees so much less range tone-wise. By filtering some of the light, the camera can see closer to what my eyes perceive. At least, I think that's what is happening!

So what's next with this slow learning? Well, being down for 4-10 weeks post surgery is going to mean NOT making pots for a while. What else can I do during that time? That leads to a lot of questions and opportunities. I dont normally have down-time. Perhaps this will allow me to pursue some of the writing I have wanted to do. Maybe I'll get more reading done? Maybe I will catch up on all the bookkeeping I have been procrastinating on. Perhaps I will be able to add more images to our WholesaleCrafts.com site. Heck, for that matter, maybe I will finally be able to organize all of my images. I need some way of figuring out where all my images live. Ideas?


Dana said...

Well, you know J & I will always have book/movie/tv show recommendations. The sequel to The Hunger Games comes out in about a week!

Or, you know, you could be productive, and get writing done. :)

cookingwithgas said...

Something will come out of this, people say that all the time, but after the year we had last year- I am just now seeing some good.
New ideas and new pots, new brushes and new thinking.
Get or make sure you have a brand new sketch book and some nice drawing pencils.
Best of luck!


justin said...

The diffuse light looks amazing in these shots! I don't know how but I managed to miss this post when it went live. But hell, with pots this beautiful there's time enough no matter when you find them.

This downtime might be a hard thing to swallow but I think the downshift will do you some good. You're so incredibly (and enviably) conceptual, I can't wait to see what sort of patterns your mind will find once you're forced to take a step back from the million things occupying your day. Write those articles you've been meaning to write, index the hundreds of thousands of pictures you take weekly, read, meditate.

Just remember, the forced downtime isn't a burden or a prison sentence, it's a gift. You'll be fine.