Falling through the cracks
by little red pen
I did classes once and loved it, but I couldn’t master the wheel or anything involving the addition of water, so all my creations were small, misshapen and bottom-heavy. I love them anyway, and one day I’ll try another course.
The Dunedin Pottery Collective has a shop in town, and I should never go in, really, because the prices are reasonable enough to make it always seem like a good idea to buy something, and there’s always something pretty enough to tempt me, and if I take a child, they’ll find something too — a little clay animal or a cup or a bowl. I don’t usually do much impulse shopping or retail therapy, but I do in there.
Anyway, a little while ago I went in because I have poor self-discipline and I secretly believe in indulging my weaknesses, and I came out with two cups, a jug, and a little cat for each of the boys. I knew as soon as I walked out that I had just set myself up for that awful mix of joy and guilt and shame and happiness that comes with unauthorised, beautiful and impractical purchases, but then I really compounded it by cracking a cup and the jug on the way home. I don’t know how it happened; I carried the Rabbit, caught the bus, walked up the steps, dropped my bag, and somewhere in there disaster struck. Quite amazing, actually, that anything survived.
So, there I was, all guilty and sad and bereft until Ian couldn’t stand it any longer and told me to ring the shop and let them know what had happened. The negotiations that followed were fraught and protracted, not because the potter and I we were trying to get a good deal out of each other, but because both of us wanted to be fair and generous, while also both being a bit useless with numbers and the arithmetics of the situation. And out of the awkwardness, I emerged with a new cup and jug and less money. ALL GOOD.
I also decided that I could make myself feel better by putting plants in the cracked vessels, so I bought a succulent that I divided and tucked in with soil and a little fresh water, sort of a new life from old, growing things in a broken world, converting beauty to a new form kind of a deal.
This cup is actually another cup I had, which cracked in the course of a revolting two-day, Skype-based hui for an organisation I’m part of — something had to break in that meeting, and in my rational mind I’m glad it was a cup, even though it had been my perfect elevenses coffee cup and it was the need to replace it that took me into the Collective shop in the first place.
So, now that we’ve come all full circle on this story, I have to tell you that when I looked at the jug plant the other day, it had tiny green weeds growing in it. This seems very metaphorical and really quite adorable to me. I am, essentially, a total dag.