Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Filling the Well; Filling the Joplin School Libraries

Another weekend creative session--this time firing up my (very small) electric kiln for a Cone 6 stoneware coil-built pot I started about six months ago.  Plenty of time for the clay to dry, especially here in New Mexico, but for a variety of reasons I was reluctant to submit the piece to the kiln.

To start with, the pot measures 12" high, which is the entire height of my kiln--I was worried I wouldn't be able to close the kiln lid.  To make the pot fit, I wouldn't be able to use a kiln shelf; all I could do was place the piece on the kiln floor.  The glaze I chose is manufactured locally, and the clay store wasn't very enthusiastic about it.  They warned me it would drip, and I certainly didn't want glaze destroying the floor of my kiln.  And then Cone 6 is such a long, hot firing.  Most of my work with this kiln has been low fire earthenware, 8-9 firing hours max; the only time I tried Cone 6 it was a disaster.  Would this one be the same?   Worry, worry; fuss, fuss.  Finally I got so sick of my concerns I decided to just jump off the deep end and get that pot finished!  Results = one happily fired pot, no kiln damage, and a good lesson learned:  Stop fussing!  Stop worrying!  There are bigger things in life than potentially messy glazes.

Which brings me to the real subject of today's post:  REQUEST FOR JOPLIN, MISSOURI LIBRARY RELIEF.

Yesterday I received an e-mail newsletter from my Albuquerque chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.  Included was a message from Joyce Ragland, RA, SCBWI-Missouri.  Joyce wrote:

"Five Joplin school libraries were damaged or destroyed in the Joplin tornado. Beyond that, many teachers had many personal libraries damaged or destroyed. Some teachers, I'm told, had years of books they had purchased to share with their students and are now rebuilding. So far, they have put together 7,800 backpacks for kids in summer school, thanks to many volunteers from all over the world who've donated cash and/or books. Still much to do. I can imagine the wonderful escapes into books that kiddos of all ages are getting."

Yes, I can certainly imagine the solace and escape books have to offer the young people of Joplin, and for that reason Dava Books will be sending several cartons of books early next week.  With that, I'd like to extend an invitation to my blog readers.  If you'd like to join with us and send some books of your own,  please address your packages to:

Attn: Debbie Heim
Library Memorial Education Center
310 West 8th Street
Joplin, MO 64801

I think this is a wonderful project and I wish the center much success in reaching their goals and more.

So, how does this tie in to pots?  Well, one of the things I enjoy about making pots is wondering how they will be filled.  Sometimes I fill them with plants and river stones, other times I turn them into holders for candles or pot pourri.  But usually I like to just leave them as they are, letting them be reminders to stay open to receiving the goodness of the universe.  So with that intention, I'm dedicating my new pot to the Joplin Library Project.  The pot may be small, but the project is big.  Let's help fill it to overflowing.

Tip of the Day:  I'm sure the library center will be open to all kinds of books, gently used from your shelves, or brand new copies straight from the bookstore.  If you can, please take some time to choose a special book to send to Joplin, maybe one of your childhood favorites or perhaps a book filled with inspiration and hope.  Whatever you can do, I know your efforts will be much appreciated.  Thank you!

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