End of semester
So, uh, it’s been (again) longer than I intended. To add insult to injury this post is, I feel, likely to be dominated by that phrase most detested by English teachers – “and then.”
Such a cop-out really but how else to string together all the various parts that comprise the last two weeks?
Two weeks ago today was my final assessment for the year. Ceramics assessments are odd. For the work to be presented it (clearly) has to have been made / fired / glazed / fired which means that come d-day its all um… a bit of an anti-climax?
The tutors do I suppose try to inject some nerves into their holiday-looking-disciples by asking questions about the ‘concept’ of the work, but when your course was entitled ‘learn to throw’ this is a short line of questioning. Similarly, the query, “and what would you say your biggest learning was this semester?” can be swiftly answered by “uhh, I learnt to throw. I didn’t know how to do that and now I do.”
You may be getting the impression that I don’t assess that well / don’t put enough weight in the gravity of the process. This is true. I want to learn skills and receive critical feedback on my learnings; I don’t really see the point (right now) of discussing my conceptual aims because they are, quite simply, lacking (if not entirely absent then sufficed with the phrase ‘I want to make beautiful things’).
Who knows. Perhaps it’s a process that will grow on me.
Two hours after my assessment I was on the road, heading up the Federal Highway to Sydney. In a pique of optimistic fervour I had booked a stall at the Balmain markets with the aim of shucking off my boxes of ceramic wares (only to good reputable and caring homes of course. Pots are like puppies.)
For market day I decided to pair my brightest pink lipstick with my brightest pink floral tea skirt (which was cut down from my 21st dress which was itself cut from upholstery fabric). (Not entirely sure what about hawking ceramics inspires me to wear pink but as a sidenote I have defaulted to this otherwise almost entirely unworn item for both markets to date.)
The skirt turned out to be an interesting idea on a day of high gust winds (a surprise for me as I like to leave the weather forecasting to others) and I ended up – after flashing everyone at the market (multiple times) - safety-pinning its effusive lengths into a more demure fishtail.
Other than derriere display, the market was a fairly solid success. I was really touched by the wide array of people known in widely varying degrees who came to see me / the pots.
A couple of people asked me that day if I disliked putting work up for sale because surely I wanted to keep it but I have to say it was a complete and total thrill to see people come and find something that they liked enough to part from their hard earned dollars over. Addictive really.
After a quiet night on the couch (lesson learnt: 7 hour market stalls are best done with a friend / monkey to ensure access to increasingly alluring public toilets) it was back down to Canberra to make rent before kicking it another 800-odd kilometres to my dad’s new house in rural Victoria.
My dad has been understandably grief-stricken since the unexpected passing of my older brother some months back, but has seemed happiest since when discussing / patting or otherwise interacting with mans traditional best-friend, the dog. Which, to be honest, is slightly strange as he’s never seemed that into pets before and in fact I would have always said he was a cat person. Through no fault of our own but a hole in the fence we ended up looking after the neighbours-sisters-friends (I know) maltese-cross-something-else-small-and-fluffy for a night and despite the fact that the dog was both dirty and obviously beholden to small black fleas, Dad was absolutely smitten.
The next day I convinced him and my step-mum to detour by the local RSPCA shelter (after a thorough rummage through one of the best bookshops I’ve ever been to – God bless Victorian country towns and their literate forebears) and it was there we met Bruce.
It was a little embarrassing, actually, as I’d spent most of the previous night extolling the virtues of older dogs as companions (already trained, chill, generally unwanted) and the benefits of rehoming a greyhound particularly… and there I was losing my absolute mind over a small 11-week old black-and-white dumpling of a dog. A puppy. Bruce.
I think my ovaries exploded on contact. Moving well along, I am happy to report that although we left that day without Bruce (or my internal organs that remained in the vicinity) he has joined the clan. A fact which, on discovery, actually caused me to squeal at the bar. And then proceed to show all my workmates and anyone else who came in that day photos of the should-be-hideous-actually-magical Staffordshire-terrier/Shar-pei that is Bruce.
What a terrific name. Bruce. I’m absolutely smitten.
Good deed done and dog rehomed (selfishly really since I will definitely be visiting often) it was back to Sydney (via Canberra for some nights of rent-paying bar work) to get my car serviced and explain to my mechanic how I’ve done nearly 15,000km since July. Which is more than the previous owners averaged over a 5yr period. Not that it’s a competition - but if it were, I’d win.
I also spent a couple of days helping my mum jus (say it French-fusion restaurant style) up our/her house, which – after 19yrs – is being put on the market. Eek and excitement in equal measure really.
Then it was back down to Canberra (just never get sick of that 274km stretch of road) to be the supportive girlfriend for my boyfriend’s art school interview (art school is an infection, hang out with us long enough and you’ll want to go to). After which it was his turn to be the supportive-market-stall-serf for my second market foray at the New Acton Suitcase Rummage on Sunday. And then (I promise, last time I’ll use that dreadful phrase) it was back up to Sydney in order to get up absurdly early this morning.
Did I forget to mention? I’m writing this from the plane. 5 hours to Singapore, 12 (total) to New Delhi. I’m one gin down (don’t judge: by 9am I’d been up for hours already) and Ghostbusters is queued on my in-flight entertainment system.
Monday is looking pretty good.