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Saturday, May 27, 2006
Articulate Mud

A week ago, last Saturday, I went out with people to a place where you can paint your own pottery. It's just the kind of artsy-fartsy crap that would never have occurred to me, but it sounded like fun once the idea was presented to me, as usual, through the Formal Committee on Can We Please Go Do Something? So, we went.

As we pull up, someone says, "What kind of stuff are we going to make?"

Me: "I dunno, single-use Frisbees?"

I thought it was a really dumb remark, but it went over surprisingly well.

You walk around the store, and the pottery is made already; different kinds of bowls and plates, masks, animals, you name it, you can probably find it and paint it. Then you pick out the colors you want to use, and that takes longer than you think, too, because the paint looks different after the piece is fired, and depending on how many coats you use. Not that I was in a hurry, mind you, but the planning process eats up some time.

The painting begins, and because I am no artist, the bowl I have picked out will be one color on the inside, and another on the outside, dark green, and cobalt blue, respectively. But, in a nod to trying not to be a complete lameass, I paint a yellow moon and a white star on one side of the bowl, which you may have guessed, is sort of square-shaped.

It occurs to me, only now, that because of these choices, the woman who runs the place, while very kind and helpful, probably thinks that I'm a Muslim fundamentalist.

In past stabs at art, back in grade school, I was inevitably stymied by a complete lack of ability to translate things I saw in the world or in my mind into a tangible, visual thing. I cannot make a straight line or a circle, and the only art-thing using clay that I can recall making was a baseball.

"Oh, you shaped clay into a sphere, made laces on it, and then painted it white and red?"

Um, no. Just that first step. And not a particularly good sphere, either.

I can just imagine my art teacher (note to my younger readers in the US: school children used to get art class in school, back before we realized there is no quantifiable value in this type of expression) looking at this blob of crap, with my initials dutifully carved into it, so no one else might try and lay claim to it, and thinking, "My God. Dirt died for this?"

But the bowl shows promise, and we will go pick our stuff up today. Perhaps if I can figure out how to post pictures here, I'll let you have a look at the results, which should be dishwasher and microwave-safe.

posted at 12:37 PM

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