When I got married (a couple of decades ago) my brother-in-law made a toast about my husband. It was an analogy about various time zones and how people sometimes live in their own time zone. I realized almost as long ago that potters have their own time, too. One of my early functional pottery mentors taught me to look at the calendar and work backwards in order to complete work by a deadline. When do you need the completed pottery? Back up to account for glazing and firing. Back up another day or two for bisque and prepping the ware. Back up more time for drying the work so it won’t explode in the firing and of course the time it takes for creating the piece. Finally,back up one more week for being sure you have the clay and materials you need. In this case, it being the end of March, tomorrow is Mother’s Day in potter’s time.
Potters who work with molds frequently start with an original object from which a “mother” mold is made. The mother mold is then used to create multiple molds to form the actual pieces. The purpose of the mother mold is to maintain the integrity of the original. Frequent use of a plaster mold can cause deterioration. Unlike fired clay, plaster is relatively soft so molds made of plaster must be heavy to keep them from breaking. If pieces of the plaster come off in the clay it results in white chunks permanently embedded in the work. For all these reasons, most of the working molds we use at Kaleidoscope Pottery are made of clay. If you look at photos of the work being made, you’ll see each piece is cradled in a little clay form that’s just the right size (and was made using the mother mold).
I recently had a customer place an order as a gift for her mom. The piece wasn’t in stock but I had recently made some for another customer. When I checked the order, I noticed the last names were the same. It turned out the daughter was very tuned in to what her mother might want--the mother had ordered the exact bowl, color, and leaf design for herself a few weeks earlier. We all had a laugh about that. I always feel very happy when I think about the emotional connections created when people order some of my work for one of their loved ones.
And since it’s almost April, “Happy Mother’s Day (to everyone who is a mother and everyone who has a mother)!”