Chemistry & cadavers
As I lie here, surrounded by tissues with that ever-appearing missive from Netflix – ‘are you still watching?’ - almost etched into my retinas, I realise this might not be the best time to pen a blog update. Then again, it might also be pretty much the only downtime I have before the end of July (if you can count downtime as the recommencement of semester) so I probably should make the best of it.
Currently it’s winter break. I, though, am on week two – of five – intensive university courses. Or I would be, if not glued to the couch by my snot-fogged brain. (Oh yes, I really do have a way with words.)
To backtrack a little, the semester ended more with a whimper (mine) than a bang; the assessment I thought would go well went less-well and the assessment I thought would go poorly (having disagreed with the teaching direction throughout semester like a wayward pony being led to water, i.e. with much head tossing and snorting) went surprisingly well, my rider (for want of a term to complete the analogy) choosing to forget the journey and focus on the fact that we’d somehow ended up at a spring-fed well. Miracles.
I then had a week off work. This should have been relaxing but, in my overplanning, I committed to drive 2000 odd kilometres in six days, which rather reduced the chill factor but greatly increased the quantum of squished insect life attached to my front bumper. The journey involved driving down, with my partner, to visit my dad in regional Victoria for 4 days before heading up to Gulgong for my mum’s birthday weekend at neighbouring Mudgee. Party was excellent, partly because it featured, simultaneously, a raging bonfire and a horse trying to eat the hay-bales on which partygoers were sitting as they sipped champagne fireside.
Driving back from Mudgee to Canberra was a blur of small quaint towns (much more interesting but also more confusing than the highway adopted by the Melbourne leg of the journey) and – all the while - conversations with my bathroom-builder who first couldn’t get the tiles I wanted in time then could but it was going to be too costly to lay them then couldn’t find anything comparable so decided to lay them anyway. That sounds like it should have been a 30 second chat but was in reality a far more protracted and repetitive affair.
My return to Canberra also coincided with a flirtation with transitory living as my lack of bathroom necessitated cohabiting with both my partner and his flatmate. Which was only a little awkward at 9.30pm Monday night when I arrived after work to discover said flatmate had not been informed and said partner was still interstate at his family farm.
Since then I have been pretty much the ideal houseguest, occupying the couch and coughing up my lungs at every waking opportunity (no really, I’m expecting an eviction notice shortly).
So what else is new? Well, I got a new job. Which is very exciting but also slightly intangible as I haven’t received the contract yet and thus my lawyer training shouts that it is unreal. Probably should hold off with the details until it slides into existence.
In very real things though I’m currently (when my sinuses resolve themselves) doing a glaze intensive course that is both fascinating and mind-warpingly confusing while entirely logical. It’s all about learning how base materials interact with each other with the aim of being able to design your own glazes from that knowledge (so say you want to get a satin white glaze, knowing what materials in what amounts you would use in order to achieve that effect at what temperature). In fact, the picture for this post is of a thing called a square blend test (not into creative names potters) where you gradually blend four different materials together in order to see what combination (if any) makes viable (and ideally interesting) glazes.
In other words, somewhere between potion-making and chemistry. Practically a wizard me.
It’s really too much like science for me to be altogether comfortable but still, new knowledge is just the best so I’m keen to persevere. Not understanding things is one of the things I hate most.
Then, immediately following this intensive, I’m doing another intensive (cue jokes about not intense enough). This second one is a collaboration between the ANU Schools of Art and of Biology (I kid you not). It focuses on anatomical drawing – featuring actual cadavers for live inspiration. Pardon the terrible pun. Again, because I’m an irrepressible nerd, I’m terribly excited about the prospect. Even though the course similarly looks to have uncomfortable amounts of science and also starts the week my new possibly-fictional job wants me to start. It’s all a bit eek. Wish me luck!