On the annual flea market in Montmorillon I bought a black, cast-iron pot with a bow-handle, also with a large rift in its metal. A rather impressive piece of equipment once used to cook in for a large family.
In it I re-planted one of my helianthus. Or is it perhaps to become a sunflower? A riddle, certainly, one caused by a seller in a supermarket who perhaps also could not see the difference between an ass and a horse. Anyway, the two of them shooting up together were too much for the large earthenware pot in which they were planted. Not enough root space for both. Crowd control required.
At first, everything went wrong. After watering the plant in its new metal pot, the soil remained soaked for a long time, like after a heavy rainstorm, with water running over the edge.
Alarm! Cautiously, together with the pot, I laid down the plant horizontally on the courtyard, like a dead man. Once removed from its new home, the earth dripped away from the roots. With a new steel drill bought for this purpose I made seven holes in its incredibly tough base – in my mind’s eye the holy number of the Apocalypse. Cast iron is not made for drilling… And don’t ask me why the number 7 is holy. Precisely because there is no answer to this, one drills 7 holes in a cast iron pot.
Now they are in good shape, my two helianthus, or perhaps sunflowers – the one in its vulgar pot of red ceramics with its normal solitary hole baked in, the other one in its black Pantzer, for ever safe and assured of running water thanks to The Magnificent 7.
And how precious this pot/pan must have been for its owners and users, its exchange value certainly equal to a modern day pressure cooker. After it was broken, a blacksmith patched it up. In order that the pot could be used again, he carefully repaired the crack with a slab of steel, a wound covered with a plaster that is fixed with a series of thick rivets.
And a mere 5 Euros is what I paid for it – its exchange value today. Obviously its use value was scrupulously reduced, thanks to the holes in the bottom. What remains is its aesthetic value; especially the repair patch looks very decorative. With the flower planted in it, what a beauty! But then, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as ever. And I will never sell it again.
Good old Marx! All that is solid melts into air. His summary of the destructive pressure that a rampant capitalism puts on everything and everybody.
Sierksma, 26.8 / 2015 La Roche
Also visit Sierksma’s Sores (in Dutch): sierksma.wordpress.com