“And now, once again, I bid my hideous progeny go forth and prosper.” ~ Mary Shelley
I confess to taking precious time away from gardening to hobble together broken pots. By hobble together, I mean glue the pieces back into the semblance of a pot able to hold a plant and its roots and the supporting soil mix.
I have named them Frankenpots…. born of frugality but also the challenge of giving something seemingly worthless, new life. I don’t remember when it began, but the WHY could only have stemmed from the dropping of a favorite pot. I was enabled, not by electricity, but the appearance of Gorilla glue at our local hardware store.
Resurrecting a broken pot is a crude 3D puzzle. We like puzzles. [Do you Wordle? The 274th (March 20, 2022) Wordle word was RENEW.] Taking pieces of a cracked clay pot and putting it back together is a satisfying endeavor. I imagine rebuilding a vintage bike feels like this, except way better.
I am the child of depression era parents. In our household we threw nothing away. Flash forward 50 years and, sure enough, my parents’ frugality lives on in me. Their struggles were passed down and around seasoning the generational Boomer soup. Sometimes strength, resilience, and a sensible way of being in the world result. Sometimes.
If a Frankenpot cracks, it is usually in a different place from the original break; the glued areas seem to hold up better and are stronger once set. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?
Glue has evolved in its ability to bind and in its refined textures as you can see in the photos. I am not sure if I like the more subtle repairs better than the oozy ones. Gorilla Super Glue dries clear and works quickly but is the least oozy. I have tried all kinds of glue. Avoid the ones that dry white. Awful.
The objective isn’t really “good as new” although with a clean simple break, the repairs can be very subtle. More often, the character of the vessel changes, sometimes leaving gaps that can be filled with moss or that allow roots to peak out for light and air. It looks craggy, worn, and imperfect. Kinda like the mirror in the morning.
This reminds of the Leonard Cohen Anthem:
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in
Surely a Frankenpot is more interesting than a baby-faced new clay pot? Like a 90 years old countenance [from the old French contenir…to contain, and contenance…bearing, demeanor], there is a story here etched in mossy crevices and in the eyes. Yes, eyes. Frankenpots inevitably have eyes… irretrievable pieces…lost or too crushed to glue back in place.
It’s alive! You are the electric current breathing life back into your broken pot. No La-bore-a-tory or lightning storm needed. Your hideous progeny lives to house another root system. Isn’t it awfully wonderful!?
I grew up in the dawning of the age of municipal recycling. I can’t help but REUSE and repurpose. It makes vital sense. As a hoarder, stuff accumulates. Shells and seeds pods, interesting stones and rusty things. Why would I throw away good pot shards, especially if they can be reassembled?
Do you keep your pruning cuttings because you can’t throw them away? Here, those trimmings often end up in a vase, becoming rooted cuttings that may get replanted somewhere…maybe in a Frankenpot. Their holey-ness can house ferns; anything that develops runners (strawberries) will make a little magic. Using a bit of moss in the crevices can help prevent initial soil leakage, and looks rather nice.
Of course, there are Frankensaucers. Slow leaks are acceptable. Once in a terracotta moon it will be leak free.
I have a friend who has had many surgeries repairing and replacing joints and parts. She isn’t “good as new” but the repair work was enough that she gets by. I think she often feels like the Bride of Frankenstein.
Patience is one of the 2 glues that give Frankenpots new life. I am told I have no patience. Surely a carefully glued Frankenpot says differently?
I am overwhelmed by information. It is too much… this constant social input and information availability at the touch of a screen. The current cosmic weather says it all. As I write this, Mercury, planet of information and communication, is in Pisces— sign of dissipation. THINKING done. Time to take a break. I am in a DOING phase of life; gardening, cycling, and the occasional pot-rebuild are where it’s at.
Certainly there are other F-potters out there…lockdown glue wizards with time on their sticky hands. Have you created a monster? This could be the grounded distraction you need. Getcha some glue. There’s a GORILLA in the garden and he is stomping on the sunflowers.
You can add up the parts
But you won’t have the sum
You can strike up the march
There is no drum
Every heart, every heart
To love will come
But like a refugee
More from Anthem by Leonard Cohen
Mary Vaananen is still DOING the 9-5 in the Jelitto Perennial Seeds North American office in Louisville, KY. How does she find the time?