Sunday, April 9, 2017

Smashing Pottery

It has been a quiet couple of weeks here in Lake Wobegon Grand Marais. The snow and ice are melting and the birds are trickling in from their wintering grounds. Everything is brown and gray except the evergreen trees and sometimes the sky, but mostly brown and gray and squishy.

I saw an ad on our local Facebook sell and swap page. It was put there by my pottery instructor from last fall and read

ISO Potters who want to get rid of some ugly pots. 4 p.m. Sat, at Betsy Bowen's pottery slam!!!
FREE - Grand Marais, MN

We're going to smash them outside Betsy's at the Poetry and Pottery Slam. Free! Fun!
ISO Potters who want to get rid of some ugly pots. 4 p.m. Sat, at Betsy Bowen's pottery slam!!!
I thought this might be fun so I went and found a few items that I couldn't give away and an unfinished item from the Art Colony.
I got there just before 4 and there were a few people gathering outside the residential gallery. Apparently, the poetry reading and hors d'oeuvres had already happened mostly, but I was just there to get rid of some junk. My instructor and another local potter had bought a fair amount of items and there were some odds and ends from that studio. About a dozen people were there for the fun.

There is a very large rock, about 5'x5' x10 exposed above ground and it looked like a fine target to hit. Before I go any farther, let me just say that I have never had a strong throwing arm. It's good for a lot of other things, but throwing was never a strong point. Well, I don't want to brag, but I looked like a Major League Baseball pitcher compared to everyone else. From about 15 feet away that isn't very difficult. Fortunately, one of the other potter's brought a small hammer to finish off pieces that were just wounded or had survived intact.

A good time was had by all and I hope the remains of the shards found there way to a new mosaic project. A five gallon bucket full was all that was left.

I stole this picture from Joan, my instructor.


  1. A smashing good time was had by all. What a great idea. Some days destruction feels good.
    I like the idea of a mosaic project later too.

  2. That begs the question: what do you do with old smashed pottery? Can you recycle the stuff? Btw, I never had much of an arm, either, which is why they put me at second base in Little League.

  3. When I throw things, I always release them when my arm is straight up above my head. I don't do this on purpose. I am just THAT athletically inept. That would not make me good at throwing pottery at a pottery slam, for sure.

    It sounds like you folks had fun.

  4. I was a second baseman too, I could at least thrown the ball the 20 or 30 feet to the first baseman.

  5. What a great idea! Although I'd have needed the hammer.

    I smashed a bunch of my own kiddie projects one time that I was extremely frustrated and upset. It was quite cathartic and then I didn't need to hang onto that old junk anymore.

    I'd love to see any and all mosiac pieces that get created. Do you think you might try one eventually?

  6. I'm glad you mentioned using the shards in a mosaic. What good is destruction if it does not lead to creation?

  7. You realize those pottery shards are going to drive some archaeologist insane in a thousand years or so

  8. What a great idea! Hope all the pieces can be put to good use.

  9. Elephant's Child, The pottery smashed was the least favorite pieces, but for someone into mosaics the remains have a lot of possibilities.

    Tom Sightings, If not used for other art projects it makes for some clean fill with good drainage. My high school girlfriend could out throw me. She was a swimmer and softball player.

    Sioux, That is probably why one of the potters brought a hammer. She threw left and right handed with neither seeming much better than the other.

    Professor B, I could throw that distance, but accuracy was questionable on a good day.

    jenny_o, No one seemed angry at all, but there was joy in breaking things that seemed to have little useful purpose. I don't think I am the person to reassemble the mosaic.

    Gorilla B., Several persons there mentioned a phoenix-like rise from the shards. I hope to see that someone has done so in the future.

    Blog Fodder, I had that very same thought and wanted to bury them in a shallow grave. If I put a cell phone in the grave that might add to the future mystery.

    Debra, I think it was for a couple of the people there. Oddly, it didn't seem to do much for me one way or the other. Must have been my nonchalant attitude at the time.

    Cat Lover, My instructor brought a whole box of unwanted stuff. Hopefully, someone has claimed the remains.

  10. smashing! I would love to see those pieces put to work in a mosaic mural!

  11. I always knew that you were a crackpot.

  12. Oh YES!!!! that would be so much fun. Just the thought of hurling something imperfect at a large immovable rock and watching the missile disintegrate into a different structure of many pieces upon impact. KAPOW! I hope the shards either go to be incorporated into a giant mosaic or get buried somewhere remote, ready to be unearthed by archaeologists of the 35th century......

  13. I know someone who had a pottery throwing party once--but that's because her ex made the pottery!

  14. Sounds therapeutic.
    I love most anything done as a mosaic.
    Happy Easter time, Jono.

  15. I quite like the coffee cup of yours I picked out. Glad I got to it before the big rock did!

  16. Shoshanah, It was fun destroying something without guilt or regret.

    anne marie, Hopefully, some ambitious and talented person will take on that project.

    Bill the Butcher, I was trying to confirm the obvious and have succeeded.

    Shammickite, You make it sound so dramatic and satisfying. I wonder what will be found a thousand years from now?

    Jenny B., I think that is a more common occurrence among potters and dish owners than one might think.

    Robyn, It was to a certain extent. Chag Pesach sameach to you my friend.

    AK Coldweather, Hope you enjoy it. There are and will be plenty more where that came from. It is microwave and dishwasher safe, too!

  17. Sounds like a good time was had by all except the pottery. I'm glad there might be a mosaic in the offing - it would make me sad to think that the product of somebody's time and earnest effort would be wasted, even if the end product was butt-ugly. (But that only applies to other people's handiwork - if I'd created something butt-ugly I'd be pleased to destroy the evidence.) ;-)

  18. That looks and sounds like so much fun. I'm with you on not being able to throw, though I have a feeling I'm much worse than you are. I can't throw a ball to save my life. I can throw a punch, but not a ball. Get me some gloves and I'll smash some pottery with the best of them... force me to throw pottery and the only thing I'll shatter is my ego.

  19. I bet that was great fun, and a smashing time was had by all!

  20. That is fantastic! Could you bring this type of event to my office? ;)

  21. This sounds like a lot of fun! Broken dishes are a sign of good luck in Germany. Tradition there has it that the night before the wedding, the bridal couple has a party (together) and at the end of the night, they smash a bunch of dishes.

    So this can only mean a bunch of good luck for you and the other smashers!


  22. Diane, There was stuff the other potters smashed that I would have loved to have made or owned.

    ABFTS, Throwing was never a strong point, but I was good at shot put and soccer. I am approaching mediocrity in the pottery world and am happy that I have gotten that far.

    Riot Kitty, I am sure you could do a fine job of this type of event to your office. I have often wanted to throw my office computer through a window as well as an occasional customer and a former co-worker. I would be writing this from prison if I gave in to my true feelings.

    Pixel Peeper, I will let the other potters know of this. It will bring potential joy and a chance to smash more stuff!