The Whole Truth


My great-grandfather played Tuba for the Czar 1. Professionally my father was involved in Pharmacological Arts, at night he became a horn blower. My family has always been involved in the Arts, but mostly at night. During the day most of us were scientists and engineers.

It is no surprise to those that know me that I might stack bowls in patterns that remind one of the crystal structure of kaolin or other minerals. Those who know me better, also know I was fascinated by the book The Katz Cradle 2, and it's references to ICE NINE. Time as a produce pusher in San Francisco taught me how to pack 88 oranges into orange boxes 3. Quickly filling studios with bowls thrown three per minute has taught me ways to pack pots.

I would like to learn to throw other forms, like jugs and water jars with the same ease as I do my bowls. Often you hear potters say that a form doesn't get good until you've made one hundred. My experience with bowls seems to point to a number closer to three thousand. Who wants the three thousand mediocre water jars or jugs that it will take before they get good? That is fatalism.

Fatalists are never good at sales. Is there a market for thousands of coarsely thrown 3 inch bowls 4? Is pottery without a user like syrup with no waffles? Could I export them?

I like gritty feet on pots. That is the problem. They scratch my mother's furniture. She has glued little green felt circles to their bottoms. They would scratch your table too if you let them. My table is made out of old plywood. So I glaze them together, glossing over their well grogged 5 feet. I upturn them, setting them on their smooth sides and subverting their former function. Now they can be imported into proper homes for what my father would call proper prices. Do you want to buy 6 some?

I am easily distracted. My work reflects this. I am often told that I should concentrate on one idea. This is like finishing your peas before you eat your rice. I prefer to mix it all together and eat with my eyes closed. Variety is spice. I leave the goal of refinement to others.

The elephant was made for a show 7 illustrating the story of the five blind people and the elephant. Five blind people travel the the forest to the raja's palace so that they might experience an elephant. On the way they are stopped by an encounter in the forest. One says he has run into a wall, another says he was stopped by a spear. Another is afraid of a snake. Another is stopped by a large tree and the fifth by a big wind. It turns out that they had walked into an elephant. The wall was the elephants side, the spear was a tusk, the snake was the trunk. The tree was the elephants leg and the wind was just the flapping of the elephants ear. After much argument they put all of their pieces together and discovered "The Whole Truth". I hope you enjoy the show.

  1. Detroit News article on the pianist Bernard "Thumbs" Katz (back)
  2. by Kurt Vonnegutt (back)
  3. Oranges come sized by how many will fit into a standard size box. 56's, 66's,72's,and 88's are the more common sizes. Call your local produce inspector for more information. (back)
  4. Theoretically that is 1440 bowls per 8 hour day, I have never come close. (back)
  5. Grog is coarsely ground fired clay. It is usually added to clay to control shrinkage and reduce cracking. I add it just to be ornery. (back)
  6. Prices may vary. (back)
  7. Memphis Brooks Museum. Gallery for the visually impaired. 1991. You may touch the elephant. (back)

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