(I’m posting early this week because I will be out of town on Friday.)
I’m really lucky that K just rolled around on the Pagan Blog Project. I got to fire up my new kiln for the first time on Sunday! So, what does my shiny new toy have to do with paganism? Actually, a lot. My reasons for wanting one are both pagan and kemetic in origin.
When I look around to other religions, I see gorgeous works of art. Despite the abundance of pagan artists around, honestly, how much of what we make can live up to what older, more established, religions have produced? Everyone seems to be an amateur artist, with a few scattered exceptions here and there. Your Deviant Art page may have a few nice things in it, but when do we as pagans make it into the big leagues? I hear Kemetics complaining about resin statues, but who is carving or casting real ones? If we don’t want to have to buy them from a factory in China, we need more people to step up to the plate.
The problem is that professional looking art is really hard to make, and often expensive too. I got my rather small kiln for $400, and that’s just the beginning. I’m lucky enough to have a place to run it, after we rewired the shed, which cost more than the kiln. (For those who may be considering the options, the kiln manual says that a covered porch, protected from rain and humidity, is an acceptable place to keep one. You don’t need a workshop like mine.) Then there’s safety equipment and materials. It took me this long to get one for exactly that reason. I’m still cringing over the cost, and I know the likelihood of me somehow making that money back is probably less than half. I know that many pagans tend to the poor side of the scale, and I’m lucky to get this far. Though, sitting where I am now, I would have told my younger self to start being a little more “selfish” and proactive and start putting that money away a little bit at a time. “Big” is not the same thing as “can never have.”
My first goal is to learn the art. I’ll worry about Etsy later. My first goal should be to learn the art anyway. If I put the money first, I may get discouraged if things don’t sell, and then slack off on making beautiful things. I have to get my head in the right place. I want to make something my people and my gods can be proud of. I want to make something that has the potential to survive for centuries so that if the dark ages come again, there will be something left that will tell our stories, just as we inherited such things from those who came before us. I want to be a link in the chain.
That is the goal, and it’s a big one, and it makes me nervous and excited all at once. Can I do it? I don’t consider myself especially talented, but practice can make up for that. I made my first faience pieces today, a scarab and a jackal amulet. They’re far from professional. The mix isn’t right yet. It doesn’t mold well (Probably a binder problem.), and it didn’t turn glassy like it should (That could either be not enough flux or not enough heat.). I expect I will go through many batches before I get the recipe right. But the color came out as a bright and beautiful sky blue (Looks like the right amount of oxide!). I feel encouraged.