Good ideas can come from frustrating circumstances

If you are one of those people who always wants to take something good and make it better, you'll understand the thought process behind this piece. Because I seem never to be satisfied with the designs of my pendants, I'm usually looking for ways to make the next series please me more. One of the things that would please me more would be if I'd glazed both the fronts and backs of each pendant. It would also please me more if I made my own beads and glazed them with some of the exciting glaze ideas in my mind.

In order to accomplish each of these goals, I'd have to hang each one from a rod through the hole while it was firing. I've done that before, with borrowed "bead trees" one of my artist-friends loaned me. This was when I was very new at making ceramic pendants. It worked a little, but several of the pieces had to be discarded because the glaze ran onto the rod. Not good. Then, because I was still working as a college webmaster at the time, I gave the supplies back to their rightful owner and resumed glazing just the fronts. Instead of perfecting the process like I should have done.

Last year I decided it was time to buy my own bead tree (high-fire wire placed gently in the crooks of some ceramic supports, that keep them up off the kiln shelf,) so I could make beads and pendants with glaze on the fronts and backs. You can't buy "that stuff" around here and so I found a website that sells supplies to clay artists. All excited, I opened my box when it came and wouldn't you know it? The "wire" was actually these honkin' steel rods. No doubt very strong and suitable for firing at very, very high temperatures.

I haven't used them yet.

Want to know why? Because I don't want holes that big in my beads and I don't want holes that big in my pendants. Some people would have returned the whole business right away but those people don't have my attention span. I kept 'em thinking they'd come in useful one day. And moved on to other things. Other things that don't require as much planning and, well, focus.

This morning I've been thinking about making some beads and getting really excited about some of the designs I'd like to glaze them with. Then it occurred to me: I have to find some skinnier rods for my beads. Because I still don't want holes that big in my beads.

Well then, in the midst of my mental diatribe over how annoying it is that things can't just be the way I want them to be and why couldn't they have just sent me something useful, like the rods roughly sized the way my friend's rods are sized, it hit me: Melody, think outside the box. You're an artist, after all. You can do that...it's completely natural to your makeup to take lemons and make lemonade. Pretty lemonade!

So I started thinking about what I could do with some designs if they were to be hung on those big fat steel rods and I do believe I've come up with a plan! Only time will tell, as they say, because this is a fairly long, drawn-out process. But I'm feeling a little lift in my step and a little rush when I anticipate making the series of pieces I do believe I'm going to be starting today. 'Cause they'll have to dry then they'll have to be fired, and only then will I be able to apply the glaze then fire them again. Finally, at that time, which is no doubt a week or more away, if I keep my momentum, will I actually know if this idea will even work.

Better git on it, eh?