Monthly Archives: December 2021

Please don’t

Please don’t ever tell a kid they were lucky to be adopted. No kid is lucky to lose their parents. No kid is lucky to wonder what was wrong with them, or what they didn’t do to keep their family together.

People choose to adopt.  Kids would never choose it. 

We all have trauma in our lives. Kids in foster care or adoptive familes have all that normal, difficult stuff plus a whole lot more. 

I’m the lucky one who got to have them in my life. They weren’t lucky to need me in theirs. 

Please don’t tell a foster or adoptive parent that they are a saint. I know people mean well.  We’re just people who wanted to be parents. Maybe we couldn’t do it the way a lot of other parents did.

Adoption can be a very good thing. It can meet needs for kids and for adults. It’s not easy. It’s not perfect. They’re not lucky. We’re not heroes. 


There is a lengthy cycle to making pottery. You throw the pot, then let it dry for a few days. When it is bone dry, you bisque fire it, and wait for the kiln to cool. You glaze the pots, and when they are dry, you load them back into the kiln. After glaze firing, you wait for them to cool again.

How they look in the end is a result of your actions, but you can never be sure how they will come out.

The cycle is much shorter in acrylic painting. You prep your canvas and apply the paint. It dries pretty quickly, and you can go back in and change things. 

I wanted my recent pots to look like acrylic paintings, but done in stoneware glaze. As a result, I was unhappy when I saw the finished pieces. It wasn’t that they looked particularly bad, it’s just that they looked different than I thought they would. 

So I learned a lot from that attempt.  I will bring this experience to the next batch of pots.

When I try too hard, I rarely succeed. I want to throw larger pots. I began having some success when I told myself I’m just making a planter for my new sunroom. That took the pressure off.  


Color is a perceived hue.  It is nothing more than a label that the brain uses.

Last night I couldn’t wait to open the kiln in the morning.  I had an idea of how I expected the pieces to look.  When I finally was able to open it up, I was disappointed!  I texted my friend that they were ugly.

I think the problem was that I had a preconceived idea of how everything would look.  I had never used these glazes before.

I just left the pieces in the basement and went back to bed.  A couple of hours later, I took pictures of them to send to her, and I began to think they didn’t actually look so bad.  Once again, it was a problem of expectation.  Very few things can live up to our expectations.  It’s a wonderful thing when we see something beautiful in a place or at a time when we never expected anything at all.  The wonders of life just unfold and we perceive them as they are, not how we thought they should or might be.

They are what they are.

Tonight, I have another glaze firing underway.  I am not obsessing.  I waited to see how the previous group came out before making any necessary changes in applying the glaze.  I don’t know how they will look tomorrow.  They will be what they will be, too.

Glaze is not like acrylic paint.  You can’t just apply it and know how it will look in its final form.  It’s chemistry.  By trying it out, you can get a better idea of what will happen in the heat of the kiln, but there is always that mystery.


I spent the day glazing pots, and only took a break to perform a wedding. I can’t wait to see how these come out. The liquid glazes look so different from how they will be after firing. 

Colors!  I used lots of colors.

Tomorrow I will be able to sit with them and meander through the brush strokes, seeing what story they might tell me. 

I hope they will have distinct color shapes, and not just melt together. That’s what makes it so interesting and exciting. I only used one or two glazes that I have worked with before. 

This is about half of the pieces. 

Part of me wants to glaze the rest tonight, but I really want to see how these come out first. 


I often talk about gripping the moving pen. I can’t force the words to flow out.  Lately I’ve been wanting to write, but then nothing happens. Instead, I’ve been creating pieces in clay, or painting on paper and canvas. 

About a week ago, I cut up a minnow and dropped it into the aquarium.  We have certain fish that like live food, or at least very fresh food. Right now I can’t find any worms.

One little fish tried to swallow a chunk that was too big, and he couldn’t close his mouth afterwards. He looked uncomfortable.  His mouth wouldn’t close. The next day, he still swam around with his mouth wide open. On the third day, he really seemed to be in distress. He just hovered there in the flow from the filter, swimming in a kind of jerky way, and his gills appeared swollen. I’d been thinking of intervening, and now I knew I had to. 

I netted him, which was easy, and held him in a gloved hand while I removed the offending piece of minnow with tweezers.

When I put him back into the water, his mouth was still open, and his gills were still enlarged. That was two days ago. He looks just fine now, and whenever I approach the aquarium he comes as close as he can to me.  I pretend he knows that I saved his life. 

I’m excited to open my kiln tomorrow, and find out what survived the bisque firing. My plan is to paint abstract paintings in stoneware glaze, kind of like I do with acrylic paint on canvas. 

I’ve been thinking about this for quite a while, and it’s kind of a long process. 

The pots have smooth surfaces for painting on, and I have all these new glazes I have never tried. This is a departure for me because up until now I’ve used mostly browns, inspired by early New England redware. 

I’ve been an affiliate member of the local artists league for a year or so, and now I’m joining for real. I intend to participate in their 100 Day Project. I create something pretty much every day, and it’s helpful to have a focus. 

I’m excited to connect with other artists and talk about our work. 


Creative expression automatically reflects your personality and events from your life. Your body makes the marks.  Your body that lives the life and remembers the experiences, creates the art in response. You can’t disconnect yourself from it.  You can’t separate yourself from your brain or your hand, and you can’t disassociate from the product, either. Just as you are connected to the fingerprints you leave behind so casually, so effortlessly. You are recorded in the composition.