Saturday, May 5, 2012

Viva Ceramica!

May 5, 2012  
A cracked plate becomes an entry greeter
As a potter, I am extremely aware of the energy and permanence involved in ceramics.  The stuff lasts!  I have taken to breaking up flawed pots and turning them into either mosaics (see stair project on previous blog) or mulch.  The softened shards keep the weeds down, the moisture in, and disincline some slimy creatures from traversing over them to eat my lovely plants.
   As we are adding new terraces to our garden, I went to Lytton Springs, our Salvation Army outlet, to seek mulch.  In one hunt, I filled two shopping carts full of pottery: some rejected, thick-walled, beginner projects, broken terra cotta planters, platters,  bowls from stores where you decorate them and they fire it for you (my favorite with “Please sir, may I have some more?” on the bottom), tiles, teapots, and coffee mugs aplenty.  This is the last stop before the dump; an homage to our mindless consumerism.  The items that end up here have made the rounds through the stores, been rejected again and ended up in The Bins, where people scrabble through them (breaking more pottery in said scrabble) to find treasures worthy (or not) or eBay.  I love hunting here.  I imagine I’m rescuing orphans, trying to come up with some better reuse destiny than landfill.
    After paying up (minimally), I filled the car and clanked my way home.  Once there, I proceeded to enjoy the satisfying and therapeutic smashing of the pots into 5-gallon buckets (with gloves and glasses on!).  My quest resulted in 7 buckets worth which I then trucked down to the cement mixer.  It makes a horrendous rattle and smash with a bucket of pottery even with the dampening effect of the water, so we have to time to tumbling to annoy the fewest people.  The terra cotta, being low fired, melts like butter quickly and makes a red slush if you leave it too long (1 hour is more than enough for them).  Stoneware takes longer (2-4 hours), as does glass, which I only occasionally do because its missiles are vicious.  Then I spread a generous layer over the ground, keeping aside some choice pieces for visible locations. 

Ahab, the rescued peg-legged dinosaur who walks and growls now.
Not all my salvages are reasonable and green-minded,
sometimes I'm just silly.

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