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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Rock Climbing and Pottery

Have any of you ever been rock climbing? I learned to climb in the Tetons with the Exum School years ago.When we got home from that trip, we went climbing every week, two or three times a week, sometimes calling in sick to work so we could go climb, we would go to Hanging Rock, Saurtown Mt. and the New River Gorge mostly. We took one trip to Canada, where we could climb until midnight because it never seemed to get very dark. We climbed at Looking Glass when Wesley was eight weeks old. I built some rocks around her and laid her at my feet while I belayed Gerry. She happily ate the dirt while we happily climbed! Later, I bought a backpack that I could put her in, and she would pull my hair while I was belaying. I hit my head on a rock once and knocked myself out. I think that was on Christmas Eve. Wes was little and my mortality suddenly reared it's ugly head, what would she do without a mom? So I didn't climb very much after that.
Anyway, there is this feeling you get when you climb, your mind blocks out everything in your way and all you think about is what your hands and your feet are doing, and all you hear is your breathing. And there's this thing you do when you can't sleep. Your mind goes over the routes you climbed that week, and you see every hold on the rock, you think about every place you stepped up, and you smell the chalk on your hands even after you wash them. Your hands are always trashed from dirt or cuts and forget your nails. I'm thinking that pottery has become a lot like climbing for me. I am constantly thinking about the pulls I made on the wheel long after I leave the studio, when I am making something, everything else is blocked out, and the smell of clay has replaced my chalk bag. Hands are still trashed. I have rocks all over my studio from places I have climbed, my most recent is a pink chunk of granite from Veedawoo in Wyoming. I love to hold those rocks in my hand just like I love to sit with a ball of clay on the porch and make pinch pots.
I wonder why I always want to have a bit of Earth in my hands? I don't even like garden gloves, I just like sticking my hands in the ground. It's funny, because I grew up on the beach and all we had was sand. So, anyway, it's 2am and there is a crazy owl outside keeping me awake, so I thought I would ramble on a bit. It's Friday now and I am turning in my grant today to get funding for a gas kiln that I want to build. Keep your fingers crossed for me.........................

3 comments:

Ron said...

I am too afraid of heights. What a wimp. I like hearing about you climbing though. Good luck with the grant, I'm writing one this fall, but not sure what my project will be. (Maybe a woodkiln?????)

tsbroome said...

Wood kiln! I'm there!!! I'm going out to Cedar Creek June 1 to help Tim Turner with a firing there. Can't wait.
I want to build a gas kiln because Susan has the wood kiln at her place and if I have a gas kiln, we will have the best of both worlds. Our friend Laura wants a Raku kiln so between the three of us we will have all the pyrotechnics we need for much fun.

Alex Matisse said...

I've climbed at many of the places you speak of and I know exactly what you are talking about... when you lay your head down to go to sleep and all you can see is the rock in front of you or the wheel turning incessantly. ...