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Just throwin' it out there;

Conversations with Bill van Gilder and Friends

Out of the Chute...

Blogging?? People have asked so, OK, I’ll give it a try several times a month and see where it goes. There’s always some cool stuff to share…especially the comments and questions from the constant flow of visitors into the Gallery,

studio and online. They often express their notions of what we potters do with clay and though some of it can be weird, some of it can be very funny. But generally, it’s interesting stuff.

We will also be talking about old pots and new pots, kilns and firings, studio tips and shortcuts, tools and their use, travels and teaching…and a lot more.

On the Current Home Front: On being a one armed potter...

So a few years ago I noticed that the little finger of my right hand was beginning to curl inward toward my palm. All my other fingers would straighten if I stretched my fingers up, with my hand fully open. But not the little finger. As I tried to roll out a coil of clay that little pinkie finger got in the way and I knew it was time to find out what wuz’ up with it. It didn’t hurt in any way – it was just annoying and bothersome.

A visit to my longtime doc and I find out that I have a hereditary condition called Dupuytrens Contracture. My granddaddy or his granddaddy probably had it but nobody told me! “So, how do we fix it?” I ask. “Well, they are going to have to open up your finger and palm (insert ‘Ouch’ here) and remove the hardened tendon to that finger. It’s kinda some major surgery.” Yikes! says I.

Eight weeks of wearing a cast following the procedure and all has been good for the past six years. Back to making pots and teaching! Uh huh…for six years. Then, recently the pinkie finger of my left hand starts to contract. Ah chit! Here we go again. So, on December 18, 2014, with the making of pots for this year’s holiday season behind me I roll with the absolute best hand surgeon in America and pull the trigger on fixing pinkie #2.

As of today the stitches are out and the wrap and cast are in place. Again.

Hand on the way to mending.

Some casual rehab starts Monday but right now it’s very frustrating to walk into the studio as a one armed potter. I haven’t tried throwing one handed – yet. But I’m close. I never realized how much I liked this clay material and I’ll never, ever take this wonderful occupation for granted.

Lesson learned? Take serious note of what your body is telling you and take the steps needed to keep it healthy. Our hands are our tools and I miss my left one a lot. But, it’s coming back and I’ll wait and plan. He’s gonna’ be a busy boy very soon.

Next blog we’ll talk about some old pots from my collection. Be well. Bill

Old pots.

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