You know that thrill of sending the tennis ball over the net perfectly and powerfully, and exactly as you had envisioned it? Or crafting an important speech, practicing it, and then hearing applause, enthusiasm, and agreement as you finish? This is what I feel as I crack open each kiln load and see my first glimpse of a flawless beauty. I can't help it, my spirits just soar! There is about another hour to go before I reach in and pull my treasure out of its journey through fire, and I get to bask in the euphoria for that duration. And mostly, after full examination, the pot is still as pleasing. At other times I am like that woman in an action film who has just succeeded in outsmarting the Very Bad Thing, only to have it spring back to life. Despair and dissappointment engulf me, and I see a small but unmistakable bubble in the glaze, or glaze that has flowed right off the pot at the bottom, or a bare spot, an underfired spot, a crack. The pot is now a second, even if it is still quite beautiful and functional. If you are not a potter, you can only imagine how crazy we all are from this roller coaster ride of mastering clay and then even thinking for a moment that we have actually mastered glazes!
Generally, we get over it and sell the bubbled, blistered, slightly flawed pieces as seconds, and someone else is, as a rule, completely charmed by having a piece that exemplifies the handmade process, and for such a great price! The Tidal Blue pitcher and Dragonfly Lantern shown above are now listed on my Etsy store. They are seconds, they are bargains, and they are the reason I will always remain less than arrogant about my prowess as a master potter!
Here are more seconds from my Mud Team friends- more in comments, too: