I had jury duty and when you are on jury duty in Philadelphia, you bring a few books, maybe a crossword puzzle, some snacks and whatever else allows you to pass the time because there is a lot of waiting before you are either selected to serve on a jury or dismissed. You serve for one day or one trial.
I brought a couple of old catalogs from a pottery auction in the early 1990s. I spent my waiting time pouring through pictures of work by the likes of Bernard Leach, Lucie Rie, and Mary Rogers.
Which brings me to The Kiln Waster. The Kiln Waster is the opposite of inspiration. If it were possible to have a front-end car collision in a kiln, The Kiln Waster would be the result. See for yourself:
Kiln Waster refers to tin-glazed earthenware dishes that collapse in a kiln during firing and fuse to each other and to the kiln furniture. The above example is from Delft, Holland circa 1655.
I came face to face (or face to plate) with the Kiln Waster at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. I had gone to the V&A to see its well-known jewelry collection. I did not know, however, was that the V&A is also home to a fabulous, HUGE (huge as in rooms and rooms and shelves upon shelves) collection of ceramics and pottery dating from ancient times to the present day. And while pottery from the Americas is not largely represented, you’ll find just about everything else in the V&A collection.
Unfortunately, the V&A does not have a book or catalog of the collection for sale in its museum shop. I would would have loved to buy one. But the museum allowed visitors to take pictures and I snapped and gawked and gawked and snapped. If you get to London, run to the V&A to see this astounding collection. The next time I am in London, I plan to go back. If you want to search the collection online, press here.
Here are some pictures of pottery that fared better than The Kiln Waster