clay boys.

I am a wood fire potter and I only fire my kiln two or three times a year.  Like most potters I hate to waste space in a kiln, especially when I fire so infrequently.  To fill the nooks and crannies of my kiln I used to ask my wife, Lauren, to make small items so I could concentrate on making the large pots that actually take up most of the room.  About three years ago, before one of my firings I asked my wife if she was going to make her small pieces.  Of course, she said she didn’t feel like making them and that why don’t I just “leave those spaces empty.”  GASP!  LEAVE THOSE SPACES EMPTY?!   That is one of the things I, as a potter and a person with mild O.C.D. just could not do, and so I created the “clay boy.”  A clay boy is a small, primitive person with long arms, short legs and a button up shirt.  I made them quickly because I had little time to get them dried and then just threw them into those empty spaces and forgot about them…until I unloaded the kiln the next week.  When I unloaded I noticed that they very naturally went with my prized tea bowls and I began including a clay boy with the sale of all of my bowls.  In addition I found that all of my favorite bowls coincidentally had clay boys very near or in front of them in the kiln.  I then began calling them tea guardians as I believe they guard the tea bowl while it is in the kiln, which quickly made me fall in love with them and the next firing had several hundred in the kiln.