Monday, March 8, 2010

The Whole Tooth, and nothing but the Tooth!

It started with a blocked drain a week ago on Sunday night... OK, let's be more specific... we couldn't use the toilet, or run a tap! Fortunately we were due out for a meal with a good friend of ours that evening, so it was nice to leave the horrid situation until Monday morning to sort out.

7 am Monday morning saw me hacking through curiously verdant plant life and digging with pick axe and shovel to try to locate the sewer pipe and any inspection traps. I found an inspection place quite soon, and was fortunate to avoid chopping through the water main, which turned out to be only about 6 inches under ground! The plumber called just after 8am, and was able to clear the block quite quickly. Plumbers are Saints when they cure such things! After we cleaned up outside, I really enjoyed a shower. Ahh, the wonders of hot water!

I have not been all that well for some while, with glands up in my face and a general lack of stamina. To rule out some possibilities, I plucked up courage on Wednesday and went to the Dental School in Dunedin to have a tooth looked at. The poor thing had been grumbling and complaining since before Christmas, and I had been trying to ignore it. Xrays confirmed my suspicions that the tooth was dying. I was offered the choice of root canal, or extraction. I opted for extraction.

Yes folks.... that is my right upper second molar with enough mercury in it to power a thermometer

The Dental School is of course..., the place where Dentists learn to do their job, so it took me a few years (more than 2 decades) to get the courage to visit there the first time. There is something a little scary about the thought of a young person sticking a fast revving drill into one's open mouth, especially if you suspect that they have a text book of instructions lying open on the tray just hidden from your view amongst the spittoons, needles, and wads of cotton wool!

Joking aside, I have to say that I have been impressed by the care that I have received at the Dental School, and I have found that the student dentists are really good at giving injections. In fact they seem better at it than many Dentists. Probably they take enough time for the anaesthetic to actually work.

Having a big tooth out is never going to be pleasant, but it was actually quite interesting listening to the advice that the tutor was giving to the student as she pushed, rocked, pulled, and shoved, at what was a very firmly attached part of my head!

On reflection I find that I am now less fearful at the Dental School than when seeing a qualified dentist. I think that this has something to do with the fact that I am interested in helping the student as much as I can, and my focus is more on them than on me.

I have had a bit of a rough week really, but I have been quietly working away at making some more pots and vases for crystal glazing. Whilst the brain has not been working well enough to really think about testing glazes, actually sitting at the wheel with clay running gently through the hands is quite therapeutic. I have been throwing quite slowly, for me, and some of the larger pots have been thrown and coiled, then thrown some more.

It has been nice working at a more thoughtful and gentle pace. It makes the individual pot the important thing, rather than a run of them.

Gallery On Blueskin at Waitati, just North of Dunedin, has asked me to put together a little exhibition of my pots for April, I took in some of my crystal glazed pots there on Saturday, and they would like more of these for the exhibition. I am not sure of the dates for this yet, but will keep you posted, just in case someone from our part of the world is reading this... you might want to come along.


cookingwithgas said...

having just had a root canal i feel your pain.
There should be a third set of teeth to grow after 50!
Oh, and I too am a fan of water.
Love the pots and I am waiting to see them finished.

Kitty Shepherd said...

Oh yes a third set of teeth after 50...I only have two months to go for new gnashes in that case. Your tooth looks as bad as I think Jessie’s new finger nail is going to look, she has just texted me form a tube station in London to say she’s got food poisoning!!!! And also a new nail!!!!!!! The second item was news worthy.
Sorry about your tooth it is horrid having stuff like that done, I had to have a repair here in Spain last year that set off a reaction of amalgam that helped me loose pounds of weight through lack of food intake.

ang said...

oooh hope the drama is all over now tooth wise, mmmmm very brave visiting the dental school and i'm very much in agree-ance on the dentist being hasty to dig in... i've learnt to say its STARTING to get numb!! sounds good on the exhib front..

Tracey Broome said...

Love the shot of your tooth, gallery worthy photo there! I have mixed up some of the glazes from your last post, hope to test in the next couple of weeks. Will let you know.
Feel better!!

Armelle said...

Your way of telling the story of your tooth would make me laugh if it was not so painful. About the blocked drain, I remember a picture of my son in kindergarten, representing this horrid situation (as beautiful colors lines), we had such problems, it had greatly impressed the poor boy. How true, the clay as a therapy. What beautiful pots! I love the second one from the left.

Best wishes

Arkansas Patti said...

So glad the water is running freely again. Somethings I can do with out, toilet is not one.
Think a cautious person with the plyers and needles is a good thing. Wish there was a dental school near me. I'd go in a heart beat.
Hope you are feeling chipper soon.
Word verification is "cupcrop". Apropos for a potter.

Linda Starr said...

Love the attitude of your first pitcher, what wicked looking tooth, so glad your dental and plumbing woes are behind you.

Christine H S said...

Sorry about the tooth, though that's a great portrait of it, I could see some sort of ancient pot in that, with four legs and glazed with...mercury. Anyway, it sounds as though it is a good thing to have had out, I hope the energy and stamina return though thoughtful and gentle paced pots sound a better bet than wielding a pick axe.

Judy Shreve said...

It's amazing how a bad tooth can affect our whole being -- so glad it's out & with out too much drama. Although you are brave to go to the dental school.

Yuck on plumbing problems -- but those pots are truly wonderful. I'm looking forward to seeing them glazed.

Hope you are back to your old self soon.

Angie said...

I am terrible when it comes to dentists so your tooth made me shudder and reminded me that I need LOADS of work done,

Lets turn to a happier subject .... your amazing tall jug reminds me of a water pump ...not sure why LOL but I really love the shape and quirky handle base.
Glad to hear about the exibition will help get your name and pottery talked about.
Lets hope you have a better week ... take care xx

Anonymous said...

where do i start peter? first the ewer in the first shot is beautiful... i love the little spill guard at the top. also you've got some collection of different shapes going too... i like the second from the left in the last shot particularly. plumbing is hell on earth! i have to admit that you have a pretty cheerful look on your face for someone getting ready to get into the muck. the tooth looks like the one i had out. it reminds me of a long story about amalgam fillings that maybe i should blog about if i get the yen for it. better the extraction. after 50, vanity just fades so if you have a gap, who cares. of course the gap from a molar is not noticable, i've got a gap on the lower left of center. drives the mrs. crazy.

Peter said...

Dear All,
It was so nice to find all your kind and amusing comments when I had a look just now. It almost made having a tooth out worth it! Maybe I will have to post the occasional tooth photo if ever I am feeling the need of cheering up! Anyway, thank you so much.

A number of you had the thought that a third set of teeth after 50 might be a good idea, my own jaundiced view is along the lines of.. "Only if they are porcelain!" Really those of us who make pottery should construct our own replacement teeth, it might be more fun then growing them naturally! Mine could be adorned with crystal glazes for a dazzling smile, or replaced with a set of copper red ones if I want to worry bank managers, tax inspectors, or people who want to sell me life insurance, just when I am in a rush cooking an evening meal!

Several of you are also fellow veterans of blocked drains (and worse!). I was amused that Armelle's son chose to illustrate such an event at Kindergarten, and in colour too!

Thanks for the comments about the pots, I do enjoy playing with form, there seem to be endless possibilities on what can be done with what is essentially a cylinder. I guess the really scary thing for me now is the glazing...

My task for some of today will be to make appropriate sized saucers to catch run off glaze from the pots that I will be trying crystal glazes on.

I wonder if there is anything that can be done with old amalgam? To me it looks almost as lethal as nuclear waste, and should probably be disposed of in a deep disused mine somewhere. It would seem that both Kitty and Jim have got amalgam stories to tell. Amalgam, a cure for a surplus weight, sounds intriguing Kitty, I wonder if it is marketable!?

Liverpool Lou (Anne) said...

Found you via Angie's blog :)
Thanks for sharing the tooth with us - different but it's not a hen hehe (I'm presuming you've seen the advert!) Love your pots ;) I once went to nightschool 'cos I just wanted to use the wheel, but had to start off with pinched and coiled pots. As I'm not very artistic I ended up going on holiday after 6 weeks and with nothing to show for my efforts didn't bother going back :-\ Hope you're feeling better soon ;)
Anne xx

Peter said...

Hello Anne (Liverpool Lou),
Welcome to my blog! Sadly, I haven't seen the advert, but I presume "as rare as hen's teeth" comes into it somewhere??

Ahh, the lure of the wheel! A shame really that you didn't find what you needed at the nightschool, but it is hard in a class situation sometimes.

I was lucky when I got started in pottery in being shown the basics of throwing by a potter friend. It was nice working away in his shed out in the garden, and making my first thousand mistakes as I struggled to centre clay and pull it up into a cylinder.

Lovely to hear from you.

cindy shake said...

Peter, the top photo of the ewer is beautifully elegant! After seeing the photo of the tooth, I can only hope you are feeling better. I'm with Judy, dental problems can lead to all sorts of health issues -I so hope your able to throw and work now, tooth problems are no fun and EXPENSIVE here, especially if you don't have a dental school to go to! your work and writing are so lovely :o)

Dirt-Kicker Pottery said...

Beautiful pitcher. Good you got that mean tooth outta there.


"actually sitting at the wheel with clay running gently through the hands is quite therapeutic."

Beautiful, Peter! Sometimes there is peace in working at a slower pace.

Glad to hear that you got your tooth woes solved.

Peter said...

Thanks for your comments, Cindy, Cindy, and Julia.

I think I will have to turn the tooth into a glaze.. I was reading that amalgam has copper, silver, and tin in addition to the mercury, so I think, with the tooth bone ash, it would do well at cone 9 or so! Feeling a bit better today, so will try some glazing now that the brain can concentrate a bit on weighing out ingredients.