As I hauled the big box out of the basement and loaded it into my car to take to the UPS store, I had a hard time remembering what specific pots I had packed into it. It had been months since I packed it, right after I found out my youngest sister was getting married. I knew that if I didn’t set pots aside right then, I risked getting sidetracked, getting busy, and getting otherwise occupied outside the studio, ending up with too little time and too few pots. So, while I was praising my own forethought (because you know I got sidetracked, busy, and otherwise occupied), I was wracking my brain trying to recall what I was sending to my lovely little sis to congratulate her and her fiancé. At the time, of course, I thought they were some of the better pots I had made to date (I’m sure you know how that goes), but was secretly worried that the pots were so new at the time that I did not have proper perspective to accurately assess them. I was following the box across the country, so I would get the chance to see them in my sister’s house just before the wedding, but I was tempted to unpack them just to take a peek. Then I remembered that I dislike packing pots about as much as I dislike unpacking pots. So I left them for my sister to unpack, even though I wouldn’t reasonably be able to take them back if I had regrets. Luckily, regrets were not the order of the day, and it was very gratifying to take the same pride in those pots when I saw them in my sister’s kitchen as the last time I saw them laid out on bubble wrap in my basement almost a year ago. I must say, I think they looked better in their now-current home than they did on the bubble wrap.
The gap in time between making those pots and seeing them in their ultimate home was a bit like the gap between the articles we produce earlier in the year and seeing them assembled together in this September issue. We publish the June/July/August issue, and proceed to getting on with many small tasks we can’t really accomplish during a constant magazine-production cycle (getting sidetracked, busy, and otherwise occupied). We come back two months later, and it sometimes feels like we need to get to know these article all over again. We get to come at them fresh, almost with the same perspective as readers, rather than editors (we were readers first, after all). But don’t worry, we’re not going to reduce the number of issues we publish so we can indulge our own diversions.
So this is our “back to work” issue. For many, it’s the “back to school” issue, and for that reason, we use it to showcase undergraduate work, as well as review the NCECA “National Student Juried Exhibition.” And in the spirit of traditional as well as nontraditional education, we posed a question to Mark Shapiro, one of our editorial advisory board members: “What is one of the things (advice, technique, philosophy) you’ve learned from a mentor or instructor that has been surprisingly invaluable?” You can check out his answer on the last page of this issue.– Sherman Hall, editor.