April 2, 2009
I was going to write about casting next (as that’s the most logical step after a mold-making entry), but then it occured to me that I never documented my glaze tests, which are pretty significant, or that maybe I should do a step-by-step entry on mold-making to really show what’s involved/how to do it, and now I’ve launched TeethStories so I feel the need to write about that… sigh… so much to do, so little time. Teeth Stories it is…
Working on this project in a communal studio means I get a lot of people asking questions. Are you the one making all those teeth? Is that a tooth!? Why teeth? What’s the association? I always explain in as minimal a way as I can manage–mumbling something about dreams and teeth–and I almost always get a response that involves the telling of a teeth story. Sometimes lengthy, sometimes brief, but for whatever reason, people can’t help but start relating their own teeth experiences. Well, I guess that’s not entirely true. There are those who hear the teeth/dreamcatcher thing and sort of cringe and want nothing to do with it. But at this point, I take that as a sign of being reminded of a tooth story they’d rather not think about. In any event, I’ve been sort of astounded by the number of teeth stories that are being relayed to me. Sometimes it’s a very personal story, sometimes it’s their friends’ story, or a “I know someone who…” kind of story. Either way, they’ve been incredibly fascinating. I’m finding that teeth have a very humanizing quality about them. Everyone has them and everyone has had to grapple with them in some way. The trauma of losing your teeth as a child seems to stick with people in a subconscious psychological way, and if that doesn’t do it, the trauma of going to the dentist does. But not all the stories are of the traumatic type. Some are actually quite beautiful; stories of joy, trust and pleasure are also very common. Teeth seem to have a hold on everyone’s psyche in one way or another, and in speaking with some of the other “studio youngsters” (the younger members of the studio who are out of school, but not at the “practicing professional” level yet), it became apparent that these stories needed to be documented in some way.
Thus, Teeth Stories is born. Teeth Stories is about people relating to one another through this commonality we all share, teeth. By submitting a tooth story, people have the opportunity to participate in a bit of modern day storytelling and sharing. Because teeth seem to hold a very visceral place in everyones’ minds, I think teeth stories could be incredibly cathartic. Both the act of creating a submission and reading those of others might be a small step in understanding some of the anxieties we seem to share about teeth. I hope the response to the online version of Teeth Stories is as strong as the response I’ve received in the studio in person. I’ve been harboring some dreams of publishing Teeth Stories as a physical book, but I might be getting a bit ahead of myself. For now, I’m just hoping a lot of responses will pour in. So if you have a tooth story, share it! E-mail your story to email@example.com and encourage friends, family or co-workers to send their stories in as well. Maybe through teeth stories we can all understand each other a little better…!