Wednesday, November 4, 2009
It's a scary thing when you wake up one day and find you have acquired the entire contents of someone's studio. My husband's great aunt who was like a grandmother to him passed away recently. While we were unloading all the contents from her room at the retirement home, the family informs me that I am to have all of her art supplies. She was a wonderfully talented china painter, something I've yet to learn, and gathered many fabulous items over the years. In the last year or so she had given me one of her three electric kilns and a large supply of greenware, paints, and books. I was thrilled when she shared these things with me while she was alive, and looked forward to maybe sitting down with her at some point to have her teach me this new skill. When I came home with the original stash I hurried through book after book trying to learn something about the craft, but when I put my brush to the porcelain the skill was not there. I second-guessed myself many times. I did not know how to mix paint properly, and felt uncomfortable with the idea of firing before the entire image was finished. With this medium you are supposed to apply thin layers of paint, firing each time in between, thus building up the layers to increase saturation of color. The only technique I've ever known is hurry up and get it done, not come back to it in a few days over the period of a month. So, I put down my china and didn't look at it for some time. When I picked it up again I was sad to learn that I had no way to fire it because I needed to do some rewiring before we could plug in my wonderful new(never been used) kiln. So, when I was told I would receive all the remaining supplies which cover an entire living attic space (two large rooms) and part of a garage I was surprised, and a little fearful. I want to create and honor her memory, but I am nervous that I will not have the patience for the craft. We will go back in a few weeks to pack and move the many many boxes of porcelain and paints along with two large electric kilns. I am excited to learn something new and have the supplies to do it, but more than anything I am sad to have lost such an amazingly loving and talented person. She will be missed, and she will be remembered.