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When Things Break Down

Updated: Jul 17, 2020

I am always delighted to open the kiln in the morning after a glaze fire. I go to bed thinking of colors, projects, and the current combinations. My thoughts fidget and flow until I finally fall asleep. Yesterday when I opened the kiln I was met with shock and horror. The clay vessels disappeared, and I was left with nothing but shelves of glaze. A swirl of colors. Each of the colors I used to make pretty things. All gone. It took me a few minutes to really believe what I saw and another two hours to figure out what really happened here.

Phyllis ordered clay for me and as usual carries it down to the studio. In error, she ordered a low fire clay, cone 06. I fire to cone 6, which is a difference of about 900*. While I was sleeping, each of the commissions has melted within the first hour of firing.

I called the kiln manufacturer. I didn’t cry right away. Sarah was kind by saying that she has seen so much of this. She requested photos to assess the damage. Three hours later, she called to say that “I had done a doozy.” She would talk to the owner and get back to me.

I had not received a paycheck since February 22. Ceramics was the only income I had accidentally created during the pandemic. And now, it’s come to a screeching halt. Friends from all over sent money by ordering special pieces. I mindfully created each of them and glazed with care. Every time I thought about it, I just cried. How would I recover?

Phyllis and I sat out back by the pond to enjoy dinner. A first for the two of us. Was nice after a very stressful day. Did I mention that I ruined my kiln? We were watching koi and turtles come to the side to be fed. Dogs under foot, not surprisingly, soothing. The phone rang. It was Sarah. She said that my kiln was definitely not in shape to repair and it might be smarter to purchase a new one. Well, during the pandemic, not too many people I know have $2200 laying around. I explained that I had about $200.

“Well, how much money do you have?” she asked in her sweet southern accent.

“Honestly, I have $200 and I have a cell phone to pay.”

“Well, I caught the owner on a good day, and he said if you pay the freight charges to get the kiln from Georgia to the Ceramic Shop in Norristown, we will rebuild you a kiln. You will be responsible for the electrical, new coils, and other parts.”

The tears flew from my face to the point where I was fairly speechless. I held my face in my hand and with my unstable reply, we discussed the details. More photos, panel info, etc. In three weeks, I should be up and running again.

A friend saw my disaster photos on Facebook and she and a friend of hers in North Carolina were planning to set up a GoFundMe. Blessings all around. Each day I walked by my clay studio and kept walking. Everything sat for about 40 days. I just couldn’t bring myself to go back to the wheel. Even though it was an accident, I, somehow, blame myself. The table got dusty, tools were right where I left them, and my nieces’ tea pot and cups patiently wait their turn to be bisque fired. Eva told me on the phone that she was sorry to hear about my “oven.” She asked when it would be fixed.

The friend of my friend, Miriam, sent me a Facebook message to request info to set up the GoFundMe. We can’t help but get to know one another through our art. What a delightful woman. We agree, connected through divine energy. We have so much in common and many mutual friends. This is how our art tribes work. We are each connected by heart and the work that we do. A common thread that binds us. The fund was set up. Within four days the goal of $1200 was exceeded by $150. I am blessed with friends. People are good.

It feels good to give and I am a giver. I always have a difficult time receiving. In all of this, Miriam and Dale have taught me the beauty in the “circle” of the law. The law of attraction is alive and well in my life, but I enjoy being the giver. Today, I agree to “receive” and it feels so good. Like a weight has been lifted in just being alright with receiving. Receiving love, mutual support, and money to make the necessary repairs to the kiln. I am ok.

Weeks go by and I have been spending all of my time at the sewing machine, enjoying time in the garden, and working on sculpture projects. Conscious Creations Art Studio is still closed as Pennsylvania is still on a lockdown, preventing non-essential businesses to reopen. That really comes with a punch. But I AM essential. I spend each morning in meditation and writing my morning pages, tracking the number of days we have been confinement. May I make mention that I have no problem being at home. Actually, I have never been so content. After all, this is what I have always wanted. I will wait patiently for things to evolve, knowing everything always changes. Always for my highest good.

I delivered the “guts” and lid of my kiln to the Ceramic Shop in Norristown. The guys there have been so supportive and have also confirmed that almost every potter they know has had this happen. The plan was for them to receive the rebuilt kiln frame from Georgia, install my electrical box, recoil, and make repairs to my baby. I wait gratefully. I decided to get back to the wheel and pick up right where I left off. I double checked the type of clay on the side of the cardboard box. Laughing inside, it’s the right clay body. I cleaned out the entire room, reorganized shelves and making a gift pile of glass for the mosaic studio at Camphill. Starting fresh. A breath of life enters.

A few days ago, I received an email from a woman, Mimi, who is also a friend of a friend, who is offering her kiln. I reply with an explanation that mine is being repaired but thank you. She insists that it’s a gift. It is a small glass kiln. Tabletop type for small projects. I have always wanted to make clay and glass beads. I agreed and made plans to pick it up from her home, from a distance, of course. To my surprise, she had included some posts, stands, and a few other accessories. Things that I lost in my accident that I was currently shopping for online. In the meantime, I wrangled up a few strong boys to life the kiln off the truck and place her onto the new cinder blocks, back in the sunny corner of the breezeway. Happy she is home, with the help of my friends, all better.

That night while making dinner, I noticed a handsome young man had pulled over to look at my old kiln, in pieces, at the end of the driveway, ready for the trash pickup. A few people have stopped to look at it, but no one has taken it. I feel it would be a terrific outdoor fire pit. I watched him bend over to look inside. He walked up the driveway and rang the bell. I walked out to greet him. He wanted to know what happened. How did this happen? I laughed and told him the whole story. Adam is a glass artist and has traveled to different schools around the country to study with the finest. In his twenties, he explains having to have a full-time job to pay his bills but really wants to be able to develop his skills to be able to support himself through his art. Well, I get that! Without hesitation, I invited him to see the “new” kiln and then into the house to see the pottery studio space I had just cleaned. It occurred to me that this little glass kiln should be his. I have no problem inviting a perfect stranger into our home, but the thought of COVID19 did run through my mind. I went for it. On the way back outside, I realized that the little kiln came to me for him. I just knew it. My heart felt so glad.

“I don’t know about you,” I blirted out, “but I am a very spiritual person. Today, I got a random email from someone that I don’t know, offering a kiln. I know, in my heart, that I have met you for a reason. It is a small glass kiln.”

I explained about the kiln and it being for glass and other small projects. I told him that it was his if he wanted it. Tears filled up my eyes as he just couldn’t believe it. Perhaps he felt as I did in receiving an unexpected gift?

We chuckled and made plans for him to pick it up.

When things fall apart, we can pick up, and move forward. When Adam came to pick up the kiln, he opened up a part of his heart to me. He explained that he had some personal struggles lately. My first reaction was to hug him and hold him in my arms. He was emotional and opened up for me to know him and care for him. We continued to chat for about twenty more minutes. In the hot sun our lives stood still. He offered to help around the studio when we re-open and we agreed that it will be nice when we can socialize. This has been about so much more than a kiln.

Once back inside, I immediately sat in silence and sent blessings. I sent a text thanking him for sharing himself with me. I explained that I do not hold judgement and offer support should he want to talk again.

The circle came all the way around, fairly quickly. We call that dharma. The cycle and law and how we respond to things in our lives. If we choose to live and respond in love, not fear or judgement, we thrive. The circle becomes complete. Energy can flow and move. It is the principle of order. After dinner, I sat down and made a conference call to Miriam and Dale to share this story with them. Dale asked for permission to share the power story and my photos on her blog, The Encouragement Project. The stress, the lessons, strangers, the friendships, the growth, and connections – all here for the sharing. The receiving. If we become awakened to our greatest good, we will attract those things, at every moment. Meditation is so much more that relaxing the mind. Centering is the actual manifestation of our highest power. The balancing of our chakras and energy move in harmony with the Law of Attraction. People arrive in our lives, just in time, at the perfect time, every single time.

Review: The balancing of our chakras and energy move in harmony with the Law of Attraction.

Friends brought the "new" kiln back into the house, Mike & Mark THANK YOU!

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