As a kid, I was always excited to get Cracker Jacks or some cereal with a surprise in it. It took all my self-control to keep from just dumping out the contents to get to that surprise, I always thought I liked surprises. Segue to making clay and lots of it at both Plattsburgh State and Cleveland State, tons and tons of it and over the years, in its making and using, it yielded a wide bounty of surprises as well. The surprises found in the slaked and pugged clay included, but was not limited to; glasses, sunglasses, pens, pencils, watches, jewelry of all sorts including silver and gold, 2 engagement rings, a full 1 ct diamond on a gold chain, numerous gold and silver chains, earrings of every shape and size, including also diamonds, broken bisque, rulers, all kinds of pottery tools, a pair of pliers, several smaller screwdrivers, sponges galore, coins, paper money, a pack of cigarettes, a birth certificate (!) and a number of other surprises. By far, the most surprising was when I wedged an xacto blade into my palm which had to be removed with pliers, required antibiotics and a time out from throwing.
That particular incident taught me a rather valuable lesson and though I use commercially prepared clay today, I set about slicing the block into 1/4" slabs prior to wedging it up, hoping to intercept anything that may be in the clay. Up until last week, the only things I had found were the occasional cigarette butt, small, very small stones and the odd piece of shale now and again; that was up until last week. Last week, while slicing up clay, I came across the unidentified object in the photo. Given its size and the fact that it is some form of twisted, stiff metal, I am sure it would have caused quite the injury had I wedged it into my hand. Though it has been a number of years since finding anything quite like this in my clay, I am certainly glad I am a creature of habit and learned an unwavering lesson from all those years ago from a simple xacto blade and the myriad of other clay surprises.