Something nice started with this lamentatious post I made on Facebook:
Friends, I am Bummed with a capital B. My Phoenix Center for the Arts wheel-throwing class has been canceled mid-stream. The center cites community benchmarks for COVID-19 infection risk. I applaud their proactive efforts to stem the spread, but I also feel like the rug has been yanked from under my feet, landing me on my oversized sit-downer.
I took some clay home. Not much–I was on public trans and on foot, and wasn’t up to lugging a lot of clay around. So I can hand-build, but until I find a reliable studio space/place, I can’t throw, and I can’t really sculpt–I need to bisque-fire what I make.
Several friends commiserated, wished me well, suggested handbuilding, and generally made me feel better, though still bummed. Then I got a Facebook Messenger message from an amazing friend of mine, thus:
It was a link to a demo of someone deftly throwing miniature vessels on a tiny wheel. Looked like fun. We had this text exchange:
G: Very cool! The demo potter makes it look easy, but you’d need surgical steadiness to throw with precision on that scale. Worth exploring, though!!
G: Quite so. Tell you what. Find me the product and how to order it, and if it’s under $100 US, I will buy it and make something for you. Deal?
N: Deal, here you go…
It was a link to an outfit called wish.com. The little wheel was offered at $64. I was amazed that it was so inexpensive, and in fact it wasn’t, quite: what with tax and handling and timely shipping the bill came to something over $118.
She had other suggestions, good ones which I’ll reserve till I find out if the little wheel and I play well together. And then something occurred to me:
And just this evening I made the second of two 3D sketches of Queen chess pieces. Neither looks remotely like her. Just getting my feet wet on subject matter I hadn’t handled in many years. I like the vitality of them, though.
Long story concluded: As I say in the title and in the text exchange, there is “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” and there is “Make It Happen.” I’m thrilled that, thanks to my wonderful friend, a setback turned into a new, exciting path.
Would you like to meet my wonderful friend? You bet you would–trust me. Her name is Nina Pak. I knew her as Nina Rogers when we were classmates and (briefly for me) fellow Yoga Club members at Glendale High School. She attended my wedding to Joni Froehling on December 10, 1988, and I have not seen her much face-to-face since, but thanks to social media we maintain our friendship. She looks like this:
She also looks like this:
She has been a model, a curator, an art director, a publisher, and many other things. Working out of Vancouver, British Columbia, she has created time-defying, gorgeous tableaux of bygone–or alternate-universe–scenes. The curious need only do an Internet search on “nina pak art” to be privy to a multitude of breath-stopping imagery. She has said of her work, “I am not opposed to making my art look good on someone’s wall, but I feel what I create has a spiritual depth and mystery that stirs something essentially vital: a longing, a calling, an echo of something forgotten, deja-vu, or something you can’t quite grasp but want to share.”
And she is my friend, thank the All, and this week she helped me do more than daydream about how nice it would be If. Nina, please accept my humble thanks!