Saturday, November 17, 2018
I've been the recipient of an out-of-the-blue act of kindness from a stranger.
The opening of the stranger's email began:
"___________ told me David Shaner was one of the potters who earned your respect."
...and what followed was the attachment of a cookbook of David Shaner recipes -- a collection passed on from the man himself.
It made my day. What a thoughtful kindness. It afforded me a new and encompassing sense of connectedness to the world of potters. It's a remarkable fraternity.
Oh, the "stranger" I'm referring to -- the fellow who sent me that email -- wasn't a stranger to me. I've known who Jack Troy was since I was a teenager reading Ceramics Monthly in my college library. I bought "Salt Fired Ceramics" in around 1980 and from there grew to appreciate a potter -- Mr Troy -- uncommonly able to communicate in written word the joys and trials of working with clay.
But I had no idea Mr Troy knew who I was, much less that he might know that I considered myself a debtor to the life's work of David Shaner. Apparently the internet has made the world just small enough to make such knowing possible.
But Mr Troy's generosity didn't stop there with that email.. A few weeks later I got a package in the mail. In it were two of Jack's books -- one I didn't even realize had been published called "inscapes" -- a collection of thoughts that David Shaner found meaningful enough to collect, all compiled and edited by Jack Troy.
I would never claim some personal connection to David Shaner. I never even met the man. But his were among the first pots to ever inspire me as a teenage potter. I had a photo of Mr Shaner hanging in my first 8' X 16' pottery shed, and carried it with me to my next studio.
I couldn't begin to count the number of pots I've made with David Shaner glazes selling their worth. Such pots were a collaboration in which I clearly drew the long straw.
But though I never met Mr Shaner, through Jack Troy's book I was allowed a glimpse into the man. That glimpse confirmed a kinship. Okay, a kinship as asymmetrical as the pots we made "together", but a kinship profoundly meaningful to me.
If you have any way to obtain a copy of Jack Troy's "inscapes", I highly recommend the book. You can easily read it in one sitting. But that won't be the last time you read it. I guarantee it.
I owe Jack Troy a huge debt of gratitude for introducing me to one of my lifelong heroes.