Chapter 03



The urns were all of sizes and degrees of ornamentation.  The cremation urns were always in demand and there were standing orders with the best interior design firms for several of the tall highly decorated urns to be displayed in the lobbies of hotels, custom homes, or large city apartments.  Some urns were special order.  Will’s father used to boast that President Roosevelt had two tall urns put in the White House that were made with his own hands, the hands of a Bellen.

Over the years the highly detailed urns tended to be more popular and brought in the most money.  Urns Will did not like that much because he thought they appeared contrived.  Each grape vine, humming bird, and floral decoration was created with such skill and artifice that they ironically lacked naturalness and spontaneity.  Will’s favorite urns were tall and plain.  That is what he was about to create.

Though the shop had electric wheels, for the tall urns Will always used the manual kick wheel with the pedal on the floor just as his father did.  When Will’s son Michael was alive the two would have competitions.  Will on the manual wheel and Michael on the electric.  The contest was to see which of the two could raise the clay to the tallest urn.  Will had played the same game with his own father.

The clay Will was working with started as a blob and was that no longer.  Will reached over to get the wet sponge while holding his other hand effortlessly still on the side of the clay.  The wheel hummed.  The pedal pumped up and down.  Will’s upper body was postured statuesque, the clay waiting to dance before him.  Will squeezed the sponge above the clay as the water uniformly engulfed the form.  The time was right.  Leaning into the wheel, Will put his other hand lightly to the side, beckoning his partner.  The clay responded and began to lift from the wheel, agreeing to join him.  Will led, the clay followed.  His right hand caressed below the rising nape of the rim.  His left hand stroked the side at the waist.

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