I can be accused of being a bit potty because I enjoy playing with clay. I love the creative act of taking a lump of clay and then producing something that is both functional and beautiful. That’s not to say that everything I produce is beautiful – there are a few ugly pieces, even if they are functional.
The technical stuff. Everything I make is fired twice. The first firing is called bisque firing, to 980c. The piece is then glazed and fired again. This time to 1280c, called a stoneware firing. It is worth noting that gold melts at a lower temperature than this. The result is that the pottery could last dozens of years (we still use pots that I made over 40 years ago – I was just a kid ;-), even hundreds or thousands of years. In case you think I’m exaggerating, pots have been dug up that are well over 2,000 years old.
I started making pots when I was at Teacher’s Training college in Leicester, UK. I was studying maths. But a friend of mine, Martyn, was doing pottery. I used to go and watch him on the wheel. He encouraged me to have a go. I admit that it was more fun than the maths classes and I spent more time doing pottery than I did maths. After 2 years the Art department asked me if I would like to turn my “play/hobby” into a “shortened main course”. Which I did after putting together an exhibition.
I have loved doing pottery ever since. It is time for me to play and be creative. I didn’t think I was creative beforehand. Now I know that everyone one of us is creative, because we were made by a creative God.
Christmas has just finished. It was lovely to spend time with family and friends. But let me ask you, do you need more stuff? Do family and friends still buy Christmas presents for you? We have been trying to stop our family buying us Christmas presents for a number of years – without success. It is lovely that they are so generous, but honestly we do not need anything. If we do need anything we can buy it ourselves.
Yet there are so many people in this world who are in need. People who do not have the basics. They cannot buy what they need, let alone what they want! We would so love our family to give that money that they spend on gifts for us to people who do need gifts. There are so many organisations where you can buy a goat, chicken or mosquito net for someone where it will make a life changing difference. We will keep trying…
When I think of “Working 9 to 5” I think of Dolly Parton. She looks pretty good for 73 y.o. She has released 64 studio albums, has a stack of awards, appeared in a number of films – and perhaps most impressive, is that she has been married to the same husband for 54 years.
It prompted me to think about all the jobs that I have had. This is in approximate chronological order. Many of the jobs were when I was a student:
Started delivering newspapers when I was 12/13 y.o. in England. Had to ride my bike down to the newsagent around 5.30am, pick up and sort the papers, ride back to our suburb and deliver them. Rain, hail, snow and even some nice days! The thing I remember most from that time is that at Christmas time I got a “Christmas box” from some customers (a tip they would leave for me). The biggest, fanciest homes I either got nothing or very little. The more modest homes were generous. Did this until I was 15 y.o. – then I could work in a supermarket.
The first supermarket I worked in was Woolworths in Grantham, UK. Woolworths as it existed in the late 60’s, early 70’s does not exist now. It was a department store. One such department was a Lighting Department, where I worked. Mostly, I sold light bulbs. Before I sold every light bulb I tested it! It’s bizarre to think of doing this today.
Onwards and upwards. I went to work at Tesco’s. I had an office all to myself. People brought me all the material I needed. Sounds good, doesn’t it?! And I loved it. My job was to break up cardboard boxes and put them in a crushing machine. Mint job! I suppose they had to share the good work around so I was put on filling shelves. Confession, ** if you are of a sensitive dispossession please skip this – you have been warned ** It was thirsty work. Me and my mate (you always have to have a partner in crime), would open bottles of fizzy drink, have a little sip and put the top back on. All good, not really. I hope that former Tesco’s managers are not reading this.
For some reason I got transferred to the butchery department. Minimal (no?) training given and I was to cut meat up to proper cuts for sale (taking bones out, cutting between joints etc.). I quite liked it because it was like surgery, but I was ridiculed for being too slow and treating the meat like a surgeon. You just can’t win sometimes.
All for now.