Show and Tell: Infertility Pottery

September 28, 2008

As a counterpoint to my heartfelt and earnest post yesterday, today’s Show and Tell is full of pretty pictures.

But first we must back up.

By the time I got to IVF #1 in June, I was an old pro at giving myself injections, having been through two injectable + IUI cycles recently as well as several intramuscular HCG trigger shots (the hardest ones of all) years earlier during Clomid + IUI cycles. Even though I had become accustomed to the shots, I wasn’t prepared for the sheer volume of injections that IVF involves. There were so many vials and pens, so many needles, so many alcohol swabs, so many gauze pads.

Most of the gauze pads didn’t have a drop of blood on them, but I kept using them after every injection. Then I got the crazy idea of collecting the gauze pads (I did throw out the ones with blood on them). Then I got the even crazier idea of using the gauze pads in my pottery, to create a permanent testament to my process. If the cycle resulted in a baby, someday the child could use the pots.

Did someone say that IVF plays with your emotions?

I started making the gauze pots during the cycle, but finished them after the cycle had succeeded then failed. And so now, the pots are a testament to the process and also to the baby that almost was.

First, the first pot I made, which I started during the cycle. I used the gauze to texture the wet clay after I had thrown the cup on the wheel, like this:

In the photo, you can see how the gauze was affixed to the wet clay, and how the gauze, once removed, left a bumpy texture.

Unfortunately, when I glazed it, most of the texture was smoothed over by the glaze.

At the bottom you can still make out horizontal lines from the gauze impression, and close-up there are also little bumps here and there, but for the most part the effect didn’t come through.

Just to clarify the scale, after my camera tricks a few weeks ago that made a tiny vase seem large, the above cup is 4 inches tall by 4 inches in diameter.

Next, I tried to use the gauze at the glazing phase. I don’t have photos of the process, because when your hands are covered in glaze and/or wax it’s a bad idea to touch your camera.

To make this one, I glazed the pot with one color of glaze, then stuck the gauze to the outside and painted over the gauze with a different color of glaze. The idea was that the gauze would leak through the holes in the glaze and leave a pattern. It didn’t quite work, but it’s still a nice pot.

Finally, I glazed this little pot with one color, then stuck the gauze to the outside and painted over the gauze with wax resist. Whatever gets waxed will not absorb any additional glaze. After the wax had dried, I dipped the pot in the second color. The idea was that the wax would lead to a gauze pattern in the glaze, but again it didn’t work. The wax didn’t come through in a gauze pattern, but it did leave little random shapes here and there — the brownish circles you see scattered about.

So here we have three permanent testaments to IVF #1 and the resulting miscarriage, all of which did not work out (pots and baby included). However, I did get the gauze pattern to work out on a different pot, but you will have to come back for next week’s Show and Tell to see the success.


10 Responses to “Show and Tell: Infertility Pottery”

  1. Michell Says:

    They’re very cool. What a nice project.

  2. Danielle Says:

    I know I sound like a broken record, but those are so beautiful! I love the lighter blue color. Thanks for showing them.

  3. chrissy Says:

    I love the last one, sorry abbout your miscarriage

  4. Shelby Says:

    Those came out beautifully. It’s a tangible testament to all that you did endure. Thanks for the share!

  5. Cara Says:

    This is a perfect testament to how our losses come through in every aspect of our lives.

    Your creativity, both with pottery and your grieving process is truly inspiring.

    Keep creating and keep sharing!!!

  6. Delenn Says:

    You are so creative. And they are beautiful–I love your colors.

  7. Sam Says:

    Wow, I’d love to try something like making pots!! I do think that it is a very positive way to reflect on what has happened to you and how to remember it.

  8. Jen Hanson Says:

    Are you finding it as theraputic as you thought ?

  9. Jen Hanson Says:

    ICLWeek September 21st – 28th

  10. Kristin Says:

    I don’t know how I missed your show and tell last week but these pots are beautiful. They may not have had the effect you wanted but they are beautiful.

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