The Broken Bowl

This is how my recent stoneware pottery bowl arrived in the mail:

I could’ve panicked. I could easily envision a perfect bowl filled with promise…oh the wonderful things that it could contain, the liquids it could carry! 

I could’ve been filled with regret. Oh, what a waste of some unknown artist’s handiwork! What a terrible shame that the vibrant colors shall never again be seen or appreciated by anything but some scavenger bird atop a pile of refuse. Whoa be to the humble hands that created such a glorious bowl–such careful hands that delicately designed with detail and focused attention to create–only to find itself lying broken at the bottom of a recycling bin!

I could’ve judged myself harshly or criticized myself for being wasteful.  How could I have these good intentions on putting a bowl to good use only to find myself throwing it out? 

I could’ve been angry at the sodding shipper who carelessly prepared this item or the quality assurance manager or the delivery service! 

I could’ve but, I didn’t. 

Reacting is a common enough behavior. I used to blame everyone all the time. I used to find fault, someone to blame, or play victim to the tragedy that befalls all human beings.  I could attribute it to “my bad rotten luck” or tell myself that it was some cosmic karmic payback for something I did in my life or worse, in a past-life. I could justify these feelings as “Murphy’s Law” and dwell on the frustration behind such a disappointment as ordinary as a broken bowl.

I did none of these things. Instead, I am making an attempt to repair it. 

Now I want to be clear that I’m setting no expectations on the outcome.  I don’t know if this will turn out to be a disaster or whether I will succeed.  This may or may not go my way…and I am okay with that.

But, I have the time to do it. It’s not getting in the way of my daily routine.  In fact, I wasn’t sure if I was going to work on it at all until I found myself reaching for the pieces this morning.  

I also had the material I needed. I had made a superfluous purchase a long time ago with a sealant when I was testing out texture for a mail art project.  It flashed in my mind as soon as I picked the pieces up and I laid it aside for a whole day before deciding to try the repair.  

The pieces seemed to fit. When I started to put the pieces together, it was sort of like a jigsaw puzzle. Although the larger pieces fit togethee, it wasnt seamless. There are some small chips I’ll have to sort through later to see how much I can salvage. The larger pieces resisted a little and took gobs of the sealant. My hope is that it’ll dry and I’ll be able to use some more coats to reinforce, but there are no guarantees. 

It takes time and effort. Each piece has to be matched, sealed and pressed together as I goop my hand up with the sealant. I’ve taken some breaks to wash my hands of said goop and have to monitor the drying process because some of the pieces are heavy and are reopened following the very real Law of Gravity.  

Again,  I’m not married to the result.  It is more about relinquishing control, making a mess and being okay with that,  and then trusting myself to know when the project is completed or whether or not I should abandon the endeavor. 

I hope to have a positive result,  a bowl with a story that will be healed as I heal, mended as I mend. But that’s not up to me. I may discover that a bowl is not all about the patience it took to make but the prize in knowing that I had a hand in breathing new life into it. 

Thank you for the accidents!


About Lisa Perez

Lisa M. Perez is a published poet, editor, copywriter, public speaker and artist. The co-creator of the first ever ArtSpace in Jersey City, member of IUOMA (International Union of Mail Artists), and administrator for an online Mail Art group, Lisa supports the arts and advocates for creativity. Her successful, Art Journal and "Notes from my Brain" series are ongoing projects that evolve with the artist. In addition to being an active blogger since 2005, Lisa scripts and edits copy for various online articles and videos. In September 2017, she was a guest-speaker and virtually chaired a YOGA Recovery meeting. In her spare time, Lisa studies, reads, and creates while maintaining a day job in a STEM field and being a full-time fur-mommy to her shih-tzu, Cher.
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