Works in progress

Unloading the kiln is always a surprise.*  Yesterday I unloaded two large (as in, many pieces) commissions- I was so pleased that they came out how I'd hoped- as well as some pieces I was experimenting with.  Sometimes you have a concrete image in your mind of how something will look when finished.  Then, once the work is completed, it falls short.  Sometimes a smidge, sometimes greatly short of the mark.  I think we all experience this in cooking, in artwork, writing- almost any endeavor in which we have some creative input.  Here's my example- two cups:
The cup on the left is the first cup I made.  I wanted something simple and less expensive than the other cups I've made in this technique .  I had a small handmade cup that had nice clean, straight lines, so I used that form and added the bee.  I didn't feel like it hit the mark.  The text was wrong, my surface design was way off (I took some shortcuts and just plain old did it wrong), but the cup felt good.  I like drinking from it, but it isn't visually pleasing to me. 
The cup on the left is closer to what I had in mind.  It is slightly wider and shorter, and I cleaned up my surface decorating process.  There are three of these, with three different drawings,  and with two of them I feel like I'm 95% there.  I'm not shooting for perfection (perfect = not made by hand= no room for personality= graceless), just another tweak or two.  I'm happy with this one and will make more soon.

I really had the best day yesterday.  In addition to the good kiln-unloading, I had studio help (a friend is coming over once a week for a few hours to help me in the studio- it's a godsend!), yoga class, shipped several big orders, and best of all, received so much really affirming feedback from a little profile that ran in our paper.  It is always nice to hear from friends, family, and acquaintances who let you know that you're on the right path.  I'm so grateful for the life I live and the blessings I receive from everyone in my life.

Have a beautiful weekend, everyone-

*last week I opened the kiln to find that either my glaze was contaminated or some sort of ash/mineral/who-even-knows had settled on the top of two large white platters strewn with ginkgos.  They were so nice, except that they were randomly speckled with black.  I was so upset and have since shop-vac-ed the kiln thouroughly and strained my white glaze.  The problem must have been solved as these pieces aren't speckled with the same black.  But oh, it was disappointing.