Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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09/07/2004: "Mud Lust"

I think it's normal for those of us living in the age of consumerism to resort to buying shit when we feel like shit. I was going through my fat Dick Blick catalog (not the skinny sales one but the big one that has everything in it) and I found their section on ceramics supplies. I started looking at all the clay bodies, glazes, throwing wheels and kilns and started to have a real craving to work with clay again. I added a rather expensive wheel and kiln into my shopping cart online, then turned on the TV and (swear to god) there was a potter giving a demonstration on how to throw these huge terrocatta pots.

Watching him pull the clay up and then use a thin piece of plastic for rounding the lip, it got me all weak in the knees. I went back online, thinking it was a sign (every big purchase I've ever made has been based on getting a sign) not that I believe in fate, but it just seems like a confirmation of what I already know to be true. So, I get almost to the point of hitting the final "purchase" button before reality hits me. My house is cold and I have to sit right in front of a little space heater because I haven't been able to afford my oil heating bills, and I'm already thousands of dollars in debt on credit cards (not to mention student loans) and what in the hell was I thinking to purchase several thousand dollars worth of ceramics equipment when I have arthritic hands and have a hard time even wedging clay?

Still, I came into work this morning and my co-worker told me, first thing out of her mouth, that there was a new ceramics professor hired here at UAS and he's supposedly pretty good and maybe I should sign up for a class.

I'm just worried because once I start working in clay, the rest of the world has a habit of going away.

Replies: 5 Comments

on Tuesday, September 7th, Howard said

Maybe there's a community center around with a pottery area. I know there is one only a short distance from where I live. It might be better to use drop in resources then spend all that money. I know how it is when you have it in mind to do something. YOu just got to take a couple of deep breaths and give yourself sometime to think it all through.

on Tuesday, September 7th, Elise said

That's a good idea, I'm pretty sure that the university is the only place we have in Juneau for ceramics besides those mold shops. There are a lot of clay artists here but they all have their own set-ups. God, I wanted to buy that equipment in the worst way.

I told a friend about it today and she called it "shopping cart shopping" the window shopping of to pick things out that you can't afford. Oh well, maybe I could do some hand building at home and see if I could use a kiln at a mold shop for the firing.

on Thursday, September 9th, holly said

Retail therapy...good for what ails you (at least momentarily).

on Friday, September 10th, RR said

Debt worries me, and I end up not hitting the button. It would be good if you could find a class and hold off buying.Ceramics is one of the classes I've signed up for this term and I'm really excited about it. The last time I did any work with real clay was omg...almost 30 years ago. *walks away from pc feeling even older*

on Friday, September 10th, Elise said

Yes, I think the urge to splurge has passed. This weekend I'm going to Anchorage for my sister's baby shower. There are a lot more art stores in Anchorage, we only have one small one here in Juneau. I really want to go and check it out but again, I'm worried I'll spaz out and buy a bunch of stuff I can't afford.

Anyway, have fun in your clas RR. I'm feeling very jealous just now.