Sooo, that short demo yesterday? Not so short. But very enjoyable.

After a slightly worrying drive out to Salmonier Line[1], I found the United Church camp, a small series of buildings off the same little dirt road that goes to a Scout camp and a few other churches’ camps. I got out of the car and must have been instantly recognizable as a slightly lost artsy type, because a small Scottish lady bustled up to me and asked breathlessly, “Are you… our potter?” The small Scottish lady turned out to be Wendy, who was organizing… well, me. I’d arrived slightly after supper had started, so she hustled me inside and gave me food[2], introduced me to some people at the first table with an empty seat, and bustled off to figure out where I was going to set up the wheel. She would turn out to be my main host of the evening (and supply more tea, cookies, and fruit after the demo, and then give me a hug and tell me to watch out for moose on the drive home).

Turns out that the theme for this year’s conference is chosen from Jeremiah (18:1-6). The story is that, just as a potter can make something, decide it’s crap, and make something else out of the clay, so can God make rules for his followers, decide they’re not working, and make new ones. The story has traditionally been used to explain why there are multiple books in the bible, and why sometimes they contradict each other. At the conference, they’ve been using it as a starting point to discuss how the church can change or adapt to meet the needs of its members and the community at large. Someone at the national conference thought it would be cool to have a potter actually doing his work during the opening service. It went over really well, and for the two provincial conferences, they wanted to do the same[3]. So I was asked if that would be alright with me. Well, yes, thinks I. You just gave me free food. Besides, I drove all this way out. I *thought* doing that for a short demo was silly.

So I got set up on a small platform, and did my thing while they did theirs. I thought service would take an hour or so, but as it turned out, the service was actually interspersed with reports from reps who went to the national conference, the AIDS rep[4], and various other people. I lost track of time (didn’t have a watch on, and couldn’t see anyone’s laptop screens), and didn’t realize how late it actually was until someone mentioned it was time for Vespers[5]. After the service, I said a little word about the clay and what I’d been making, and a few people who didn’t rush straight to the tea and cookies stayed behind to ask more in-depth questions about drying, trimming, firing, and glazing. I gave my e-mail to one gentleman who’d been taking pictures, so hopefully I’ll have some copies to post soon. In the end, I had time for a full teaset (sugar, cream, teapot, spout, four cups and two lids), a serving bowl, and a wine cup (it seemed like a good churchy thing to make at the time, although halfway through it occurred to me I have no idea what the United Church’s rites are like, and whether or not they do communion).

After tea, fruit and cookies (nanaimo bars! Yum!) I packed up, cleaned up, squished down my pots[7], said my goodbyes to Wendy and the bevvy of other people warning me to watch out for moose[8], and headed for home.

Still need to haul the wheel out of my trunk and into the studio. Should be a muddy volunteer down there soon for Saturday Open Studio…

[1] I don’t have my winter tires on yet, and there were a few flurries. No ice that I came across, though, so *that* was okay.

[2] Macaroni and cheese, salad, and some excellent lemon meringue pie. And, sure enough, a cup of tea.

[3] Craig Strang, from Meadows Point Pottery, did the demo at the Western conference. I’m glad to hear he’s doing better; he had a bit of a health scare last spring due to cobalt over-exposure.

[4] The United Church, apparently, is the only church with a rep on the provincial AIDS board. I have to say, I’m disappointed in the rest of ’em. I should think at least a bored nun or someone could have been spared.

[5] Second-last prayers of the day in the canonical hours, between None and Compline. About 9:00 this time of year.[6]

[6] Who says medieval studies degrees are useless?

[7] Much to the chagrin of the stragglers still in the room. But I didn’t have any way of getting so much pottery home, and anyways, it’s not like the clay’ll go to waste. I’ll make more things with it.

[8] You cannot go on the highway in Newfoundland anytime from late afternoon to mid-morning (or None to Lauds, ahaha) without being at risk of hitting a moose, or having twenty people tell you to watch out for them[9]. I didn’t hit a moose, although there were a few scary moments in the snow when I thought I was on ice. It turned out it was just the wind pushing the car around, though.

[9] For those of you who live someplace without moose, there is a very illustrative Mythbusters about why hitting moose, at any speed, will likely kill you. Look up “moose mayhem” on YouTube sometime.

2 thoughts on “Vespers?!”

  1. That sounds like a really cool gig maaike.

    One would think that squishing pots to make something else out of them at a conference about changing the future of people and yourself, would be a fitting thing to do. shocking I know because of all the work, but that’s the point right?

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