Clay

The virus canceled life for everyone. Living from your craft was hard during the pandemic. Some artists found success online through shops. Ceramics is not a light hobby; it’s labor-intensive. You make things, and they need shelves. Someone packs the oven, hopefully with something that sells, if only to make more things. I can quickly turn off my laptop, and all my models disappear. Not with natural clay. It needs attention. It has rest periods. It needs you.

I would roll by a neighbor’s house that made ceramics. They looked primarily Norwegian perfect made things with some transparent glazes to see the veins and folds of the clay beneath. These are things I would miss riding my bicycle around America, always trying to get at least 20 more miles in. Artists. Since now I’m slow, all these places pop out. I’d be coming home from my shift at last call, and she’s busily making something come alive on her wheel. Things in her garage surrounded her. Plates and bowls and cups.

Then, on kiln days, the oven would be red hot. She’d be sitting alone with her things in her garage at 1 AM. Sometimes with a coffee or a beer. I’d roll by at night to avoid the impatient Phoenix drivers. Last night she filled a table with these coffee cups and a snack. It was a little late for a sale. She walked up with half a glass of wine.

“Everything on the table is a hundred dollars.”

“Only a hundred?”

“At least a hundred.”

“I forgot this was Scottsdale.”

“Trank?”

She swishes her wine around her glass. Maybe, she was a sommelier in the daytime.

“Trinken? You’re German?”

“I’m drunk.”

“I’m sorry. You miss your person?”

“He’s been gone five years.”

“It’s late. How about twenty for that ugly mug?”

“It’s my art!”

“I know. I was trying to make you forget for a second.”

So. I have a new coffee cup. I had a free dinner last night. I used the extra money I had to buy this coffee cup. You know, support local arts.