moments II

When the potter shapes the clay, he does so thanks to the plasticity that the right amount of water gives it. The exact point of humidity, according to the desired piece, is recognized by the experienced craftsman, who needs to calculate the time, the contractions and the properties that the clay will have at each moment of the process. It is the water that measures its time because the piece breathes it out until its flexibility expires with it, becoming a static thing, no longer manipulable except by being resuscitated with this fluid, paying for the new opportunity with its shape.

Due to this nature, it behooves the good potter to know when to caress the piece gently, when to grasp it tightly, and when to gouge, burnish, adhere, or turn it over. It doesn't work to be capricious because each purpose, in this process of shaping something, has a precise moment and an order in which to be executed. If that piece of clay is ready for each step, the craftsman guesses it by the touch of his hands, resting on the piece to feel the moisture present in it and thus feel if he can throw it on the wheel, go over it with a toothpick or straighten it. For this reason, if the mud measures its time in water, the clock with which we perceive the hours is the hands. And so, ultimately, having tact we know what time it is.

Top image: Degas, E. , circa 1882. Waiting . Pastel on paper, Getty Center, Los Angeles .