I wanted to get this off my chest since I have been thinking about it, and I want to bring up a point that most of us don’t like to talk about. What’s that you may be asking. It’s the dreaded Iguana Poop. Now that I have your attention, you might be asking why I have decided to talk about such a disgusting subject on a metal clay blog. Well, I have made lot’s of iguana poop. You know the stuff that gets tossed in our “junk box” or trash can. To me it usually looks like poop.
Sometimes we can salvage this stuff, and sometimes it needs to be a reminder that as metal clay experimenters we sometimes come up with failures. The hard part of all of this is the way we look at it. I get very frustrated when something that I have worked long and hard on comes out like poop. I tell myself to just “get back up on the horse” and do it again, but sometimes the self talk just doesn’t do it. That’s when I walk away. I lick my wounds, do something different, and try to forget about it. You know how it is. You probably do something much like that.
Here’s the story behind this group of poops:Several years ago I was teaching a lovely group of 5 students at a local art center that had a small kiln. I tested the kiln, or so I thought, and decided to use it to fire a simple bunch of student work and some of my own. The pyrometer indicated the proper temperature, but when it was time to remove the work, I saw that everything had melted into silver lumps. I almost fainted, literally, and became speechless until I could gain composure. This taught me a very expensive, but valuable lesson: “know thy kiln”.
Luckily my students were compassionate people, and I came back the next day, gave everyone 20 grams of silver clay, and fired the work again in my kiln that I brought in. As I said it was a very expensive lesson, but one that will only happen once to me.
I have since sent the poops to the refiner that I use, but made one into a free form pendant. When I showed people the lumps, most said, “Oh, they are quite interesting! I decided to make one of the iguana poops into “Moon Rocks”. That’s what they resemble with a little Accent Gold and a pretty bail. So all was not lost, and metal clay is so forgiving that you can make “Moon Rocks” out of “Iguana Poop” with a little imagination.