Sunday, August 9, 2009


She descends from the attic room like the Prague Golem: encrusted with clay, prepared to defend her domain from blasphemers.

On landings and shelves, floors and counters, at attention on every horizontal surface of the big house, her own golems stand sentry. Serpentine vases, delicate pots, improbable jars, and the most extraordinary, ambitious vessels of stoneware and earthenware guard the mantels and lintels. She drags herself through a labyrinth of exquisite pottery, a city of Seussian sensibility and Lilliputian proportion.

“I don’t have anything,” she tells the telephone, and listens for only a moment before arguing, “It’s not good enough to show. I don’t have any gallery quality pieces right now.”

From her phone, in the mailbox, over email, the demands weave a stifling blanket. Requests for artwork form the warp; demands for payment, the woof. “I don’t sell anything that doesn’t represent the best of my artistic talent.” On her way back to the atelier stairs, her heels catch on the handle of a tall urn, its workmanship rivaling the greatest of the Ming artisans. It wobbles, steadies. She twists her mouth at it, at its thousand siblings, offensive to her eyes. “Piece of crap,” she mutters, and returns to the workshop to try again.

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