Thursday, November 13, 2008

Across the universe

Sometimes the universe knows more about you than you do.

I don't mean that you have no privacy. That goes without saying when Google tracks everything you do online.

I mean often the universe gives you hints about yourself that you don't yet know on a conscious level.

Let me explain.

During the time I've been out here promoting 3D Radio I've also been indulging in a creative pastime. I make pots.

A longtime collector of unique handmade pottery, I took up the craft a couple of years ago as an antidote to my desk job. I've studied with Boulder potter Willi Eggerman and taken classes at the Boulder Potters' Guild and our municipal pottery lab.

For a long time I wasn't very proud of my handiwork, but friends and family always appreciated my misshapen, oddly glazed cups and bowls as I gave them away.
Gradually my pots got more stable and my confidence grew. I knew if I had the opportunity to work on them more -- if I wasn't limited to class and lab time -- they would get even better. So I decided to put together a home studio.

I began to search for used equipment on craigslist, and that's when the universe started to tell me I was on the right path.

The slab roller came from a former potter whose daughter told her it was time to get rid of all that stuff gathering dust in the garage. She threw in all her slump molds, stamps and boxes of chemicals and glazes I'm still trying to figure out what to do with.

The extruder had been a Christmas gift from a husband to his wife, a potter who had everything. She used it once, then it languished in the basement. The price was terrific, but I didn't really want to schlep the 60 or so miles to her home. Not to worry, she said. She needed to move her son into his Boulder apartment for the next semester at the University of Colorado. So it came to me.

Obtaining the kiln was the most challenging part of the process, but it too was a gift from the universe. $800 for a never-been-used electric kiln in nearby Estes Park sounded too good to be true, so I immediately called the guy listing it.

His first question was "Where are you located?"

"Right down the road in Boulder."

"Oh good. So far I've only heard from people in California." He then proceeded to tell me a tale of love and fate.

In 1995 a man bought his wife a state-of-the-art kiln. She had no use for it and it remained in boxes in the basement for eight years.

In 2003 the couple divorced. They owed the Estes Park potter money, but he accepted the kiln in lieu of payment.

He never made the time to hook it up, and it sat in boxes in his basement for five years.

Then medical bills began to pile up and he needed cash, so one Saturday onto craigslist went the kiln. For a reason he couldn't explain, it was listed in Ventura, Calif. All weekend he took calls from people too far away to economically ship it to. Monday he finally figured out the problem and reposted the ad. I called, we made a deal, and on Tuesday he delivered the boxes "because I need a road trip into Boulder anyway," he explained.

My pots have been piling up, and I've been thinking of venues to sell them. On a whim I called a holiday craft fair. "Oh, we've heard of you," said the organizer. Sounded odd to me, but she asked for a dozen coffee cups, four woven bowls, and assorted cruets and pump bottles.

During today's appointment at a local gourmet shop, Oliv You & Me, the owner bought a couple of cruets and one of my signature woven bowls.

The universe is telling me I'm on a roll, or at least a slab roller.

No comments: