Friday, March 6, 2009

Nature Abhors A Vacuum

If I'm not mistaken, I was recently caught bragging about how clean my shop area was. I really should have remembered that old saying: Nature Abhors a Vacuum.

I was at Michael's over the weekend, looking for a fine, detail brush for a ceramic piece I was glazing for the class I'm taking. I was also looking for glazes. I managed to capture one on the employees there and ask if they carried glazes. He said no, but a guy and his wife were standing in the same aisle and the guy asked me what I was looking for. I told him, and he said that not only was he getting rid of his glazes, but his whole setup for doing clay and ceramic work. While my eyes widened at this stroke of luck, I pulled myself back by my collar and reminded myself that I've been unemployed since October, and buying a bunch of stuff was probably not the thing to do right now. But I took down his number and let him know I was interested in the glazes, though I'd pass his number along to a classmate who might be looking for the other stuff.
I followed up and called to set up a time to swing by his house and take a look at what he had. He again told me he had a kiln, pottery wheel, plaster table, glazes, and some clay to get rid of. I told him that I'd look at it, but I was pretty sure I couldn't afford the purchase right now. I mentioned that if he wanted to sell, to talk to his wife and come up with a fair price, and I'd talk to my husband about it. I again told him that I'd give his number to someone at school if I couldn't make the purchase myself. We agreed on a time for me to stop by the next day, and hung up.

I swung by his place after school the next day. I had already told Mr. ShellHawk the story, leaving out the part about the kiln, etc., because I was sure the price would be over $1000, and I wasn't willing to spend that. I'd been pricing kilns and I knew you could easily spend $1500 on one once you had added all the shelving and gizmos you would need.

Imagine my surprise when he told me he'd sell all of it for $400. He and his wife are cleaning up the house to sell because they want to move to Idaho, and since they didn't use any of it, he just didn't want it taking up space any more.

I bit my lip. I knew that was a fantastic deal. I stepped outside to call Mr. ShellHawk. (Unless it's for groceries, I won't make a purchase over $200 without consulting him first.) Couldn't reach him. Went back inside to talk to the guy and see if maybe I could leave a deposit to hold the stuff, when Mr. ShellHawk called back. I stepped outside again to talk to Mr. ShellHawk. He was glad I'd called to ask, and left it up to me. I thought about it for part of a second, and
went in to tell the guy I'd take it. We loaded up the kiln in my Explorer, along with what turned out to be around 100lbs of different types of clay, some dried but unfired pieces of his, and some other odds and ends. He promised to load the table and the pottery wheel and deliver it to me the next day, which was yesterday.
Yesterday, as it happened, was also the first day in nearly a week that it didn't rain. One of the projects that has been on hold has been the planting of my hedge roses and various bulbs in the front yard. I got up, took a quick trip to OSH for rose planting mix (the soil in my front yard is hard clay, and the previous owners didn't believe in adding organics, just chemical fertilizers, so the soil quality didn't improve under their care.), and got home and got to it. I had planted five or six roses when my wheel and table arrived, and I had to stop and help unload them from his truck.
After he left, I stood looking at my new acquisitions. Mr. ShellHawk informed me that this would be my birthday gift (I love having someone who wants to give me gifts that I want), which I thought was perfectly fair. I really couldn't ask for anything better (except maybe a new Bucky, but I don't want to be ungrateful.) for my 41st, which is at the end of the month.

Not for the first time, I reflected on the old saying: Luck is when opportunity and preparedness meet.

On a spiritual level, I have been claiming my space as an artist. On a physical level, I cleared the space for that to happen, and began to prepare myself (take a class) for an opportunity. I have been speaking about art of various kinds, I've been thinking about it, I've been putting art vibes out into the Universe. I told the Universe, "I am an artist!" and the Universe answered back, "Yes, you are!" because the Universe always answers in, "Yes." I believe that you are an artist before you ever sell your first piece, even if you never sell your first piece. I believe that you don't need the money to validate your state of being an artist (or writer, or dancer) to anyone else. It's nice to have, don't get me wrong, and it sure helps to buy shop towels and carpet glue, but being paid doesn't make you a successful artist in my mind. Sitting down and making art does.

And I'm so looking forward to sitting down in my shop and making that big, messy thing called, art.


  1. Well said . . . and congratulations on your purchase. Sounds like it was a great deal. Often when these opportunities come along, they simply can't be passed up. Job or no job. Any time I've wavered over something like this and said "no", I've regretted it later. Enjoy!

  2. What an AMAZING story! I am SO excited for you! What a bar-goon!

    " I told the Universe, 'I am an artist!' and the Universe answered back, 'Yes, you are!' because the Universe always answers in, 'Yes.'"

    Very nice.

    I've always hedged the term artist, using it uncomfortably. The term "haunter" never quite fit me perfectly/wholly, and since December I've been thinking of myself as an artist. It's taken a while to stop feeling awkward when I use the word (words are so powerful, and yet we forget the power they hold).

    From one artist to another, congrats.

  3. Spirit- I've passed up a bunch of deals and regretted it, too.
    Ghoul Friday- It's taken me about 40 years to say it, so don't feel bad. And thanks for the congrats. I'm still a bit stunned.

  4. Wow, what an inspiring story - thanks for sharing your amazing life with us. You are writing all this down aren't you? Because writing is an art and you have a fantastic story to tell :)


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