Thursday, December 01, 2011

not the way she planned it

We want our projects to turn out well. We're upset when something goes wrong -- a color bleeds, a line isn't quite right, a yarn over in the wrong spot distracts from the otherwise perfect lace pattern. But I think too many of us are ready to completely give up on a project when it doesn't turn out as planned.

My father's mother, not the one who finds me all of the wonderful bags of scraps at the thrift store...made this honey jar. She didn't date it, but I'm guessing it was 1979 or not long after, when she'd just taken up ceramics and was spreading the bug to the rest of the family. She was brand new at ceramics, otherwise I probably wouldn't have it today. Because it would have come out the way she intended it to.

The colors were applied in a layer of under glaze, then the piece was fired, then it was glazed and fired again. In the heat of the kiln, the powdery glaze melts into a permanent, glassy layer. Pieces with glazed bottoms are set on little metal stilts to keep them from sticking to the kiln shelves. Lids are fired separately from their bases.

Or that's how it's supposed to be done. The lid of my little honey jar is permanently attatched because that's the way it was when she fired it.

I remember standing in Grandma's kitchen a few days after it happened. I can't remember the story word for word, but I can remember how much work she'd put into this little piece and how disappointed she was. And I can remember exactly where the little ceramic house with the thatched roof was sitting on her kitchen counter. It stayed there until she died many years later.

Now it sits on the window sill in my kitchen. If it had turned out the way Grandma planned, it wouldn't have the story, or the memories. It might've gone to Goodwill or the estate sales. Instead, it is mine and my kids know its story. Maybe they'll save it themselves. Or maybe they'll save a quilt that's had scissor damage repairs or light stains where there were pennies duct taped to the back.

Or something else entirely.

This post is linked to Time Travel Thursday, Treasure Hunt Thursday, and Vintage Thingies Thursday


black eyed susans kitchen said...

With all its "mistakes", I love your honey jar and its story.

Lynn at Cottage and Creek said...

What a charming story! I love your little honey jar and I'm sure you're so thankful you're now the proud owner of it as it's always present reminder of your grandma. Thanks for sharing your memory with us.

LV said...

Things going wrong is exactly why I do not sew. When it has to be redone over and over, I cannot handle it. That honey jar is adorable and treasure for you.

Antiques And Teacups said... special. That's a real treasure! Proves things can be cherished even if they don't turn out as expected!

Jo said...

Great Story Michelle. It's a message we all need to hear :).

Ann said...

What a touching story--one that hopefully will be passed down for generations.

c. Joy said...

We tend to look around and yearn for perfection, but it's the 'oops' in life that we tend to remember best because they make our story unique. Love your story.


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