Friday, February 19, 2010

Killing two gee whiz pots with one stone

On Thursday, in the middle of an otherwise mundane afternoon, as I was walking from Point A to Point B, my potter's mind was struck by a sudden flash of inspiration. I'm hoping that by stating my idea in a public forum, witnessed by you five or so regular readers and the occasional visiting spammer who leaves comments of an inappropriate nature in Chinese hanzi that I subsequently have to delete, I will be more likely to make it a reality.

But first, some necessary background information. The photo above shows a small portion of "Dr. Lizardo's Museum of Gee Whiz Pots (being various works of a functional, semi-functional, impractical, or nonsensical nature)."

Exhibit 1 is a model of a Möbius strip--relatively mundane. The items in Exhibit 2 are more exotic: "We're 3-dimensional models of Klein Bottles—representations of 4-dimensional non-orientable manifolds," reads the Museum Guidebook. "We’re what you get when you sew the edges of two mirror-image Möbius Strips together. You can get from our outsides to our insides without crossing any edges—meaning our outside and inside are on the same surface. If we were actually 4-D, we’d have zero-volume; being 3-D, we have volume and make handy m&m and red-hots holders."

The Museum exhibit is scattered at present: all of the Klein Bottles have been dispersed to good homes, and all of the red hots and m&ms, if not already consumed, are inedibly stale by now. So it is clearly time for me to make some new Klein Bottles, even though they're labor intensive and relatively useless.

At the same time, as I have written previously, I am somewhat obsessed with the impractical habit of drilling holes in pots whenever the opportunity presents itself. I have some lovely, very large (9 pounds untrimmed) bowls in the works over at Claymakers right now. They're made from Loafer's Glory clay--a silky smooth white clay that's more forgiving than porcelain--and I'm fantasizing about bringing them home and staying up all night poking holes in them. But then they'd no longer make good mixing bowls, which is what they were born to be. And while the hole punching usually yields interesting results, interesting isn't always a good thing. Consider, for example, the bizarre could-have-been-a-vase thing shown here. We use it occasionally for votive candles, but since I wasn't thinking of candles when I made it, I didn't provide any easy way to get a match inside. Plus, who really needs a giant glowing first-trimester votive candle holder?

So my stroke of genius is this: why not kill two impractical birds with one stone? That is, why not make a Klein Bottle that's full of holes? Imagine being able to see the m&ms on the inside (which is also the outside) from the outside (which is also the inside). I don't know about you, but I find this idea pretty thrilling. I anticipate the hole punching will be easiest if I make a Klein Bottle of the less complicated double torus variety, as seen in the Hitchhiker's Guide model above. I plan to document my progress--if such a thing as "progress" can conceivably be associated with a project like this--in future installments of this blog, so stay tuned.


Nancy Kimberly said...

OK. You've put it out there/here in the blogosphere are your readers will know if you don't do as planned or if you do. We're waiting to see. Not holding our breath, because as readers of your blog we have an idea how long it takes pottery to actually come to fruition. I'm thinking, btw, that a Klein candle holder filled with holes might be a lovely combo as well. imho.

Mom said...

I want a double torus Hitchhiker's Guide model, with holes and teeth please, for the coffee table.

mom2homer said...

Hi Mom, sorry, no teeth or tongue on the first draft; I think they'd get lost amid the holes.

Hi Nancy, my minions are working on the candle holder idea. They're stuck trying to figure out how to get a match inside the bottle to light the votive (and how to get the votive inside). Let me know if you have a solution to this technical difficulty (other than that the inside is the outside, which doesn't really help in 3D space).

Rae said...

I have a very tall votive burner that has a metal harness type gadget for the candle. the metal harness thingy hooks over the top edges of the votive holder. It's hard to explain. I'll show you, though. You could make one, I'm sure of it.