Chapter 08

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The Bellen studio had developed some refined systems over the many years in operation.  The pottery moved through a make shift assembly line.  From the wheels the pottery was placed on one of the tables near the entrance of the studio.  All of the detail work such as the grapevines and ivy were adhered to the urns and then after drying all were loaded into one of the kilns.  After firing the kilns were unloaded to the tables on the far side of the room to be painted and if needed glazed before being fired again.  Will had started the new order this morning with this first urn, so he had to make room on the tables by filling the kiln.

Five four-foot high urns were detailed, dried, and ready for firing.  Will prepared the kiln and then went to the table to begin loading the urns.  The urns were ornamented with flora and fauna and these particular urns composed a set, each one with different flowers and birds.  The first urn Will picked up had long stems of honeysuckle and hummingbirds.  Will was able to create the clay hummingbirds in minutes.  The detail of the honeysuckle still took a good part of an afternoon.  Each petal was made separately and then added to the flower on the stem.  Will wrapped his arms around the urn and effortlessly lifted, the entire weight bearing on his strong legs.  He carried the piece into the kiln and then returned to the table to get the second urn.  This urn had beautiful sparrows and cherry blossoms.

Will put all of the weight on his legs again and lifted the second urn carefully then turned toward the kiln.  A tremor began in his forearm.  Will squeezed the urn hard and tried to hurry his legs, to no good.  His forearm then his hand went weak.  The urn began to slip.  Will was powerless to do anything.  Quickly he tried to kneel to bring the urn closer to the ground to avoid a crash.  Will’s arm gave out first.  The urn fell from his grasp onto the cement floor with a loud thwacking sound.

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