Monday night I started pottery class. Not something I would normally do but I’ve had some folks bullying me about getting involved in things that are outside my comfort zone. Apparently, I haven’t had enough change in my life in the past few months, and haven’t stepped out enough, that they feel I need more. So I caved and decided to take a 5 week pottery course. I need a new salad bowl.
Well, I’m not going to get it this way. I’ll take pictures of my pathetic bowls next week but I’m thinking that they’re going to be the most expensive, ugly, bowls I’ve ever owned and there have been a few in my life. Actually, I think I might have a collection of “flower” design bowls complete with petals.
It was a lot of fun. There’s 4 other women in the class and the instructor, Jenny, who is very patient. After her demonstration, we were each handed a lump of clay and everyone made their way to a wheel. The 1st try for me was a disaster, I actually broke the sides of the bowl off in my hands. I have to cut my fingernails, they act like knives and slice though the clay.
This is when I learned about “rainbows”. A rainbow is when you take the destroyed pot from your wheel and make a long snake like thing and curve it and stick it to the table to dry out. I assume it gets re-used at some point, not last night. Jenny kept handing out lumps of clay to all of us, along with patient advice, never once calling any of us stupid or idiots (although I’m sure all that and more ran through her head). I ended up with 3 objects that loosely resemble bowls, clay on my jeans and half way up my arms and a sore back from leaning over.
The one thing I did realize is that doing this is a very meditative thing. You have to be incredibly present to work on the wheel. You can NOT be thinking about the TV show’s you’re missing, or what you’re going to make for dinner or how your day was because the moment you do the bowl becomes a misshapen lump of crap. Another rainbow is born and you have to start all over again.
I also discovered that I drive my pottery wheel like I drive my car, fast. Which is fine for the first bit when you’re centering the clay on the wheel but not so good when you’re doing the delicate work of bringing it up to form the sides of the bowl. Need to work on that.
Jenny explained that we’ll be able to fix a lot of what we don’t like in our bowls next week when they are leather-hard, dried but still pliable. She also mentioned that paint and glazing can do wonders for how the piece turns out….I’m looking forward to this stage.
I have 2 bowls and a beautiful plate that my friend Kristy made for me, I love them. I’ve always admired her work and I use these bowls everyday. I have never appreciated them as much as I did this morning after realizing last night how hard it is to get even sides on a bowl. Thank you Kristy.
I have determined that the next 4 weeks will be a lot of fun but there is no way I’m going to be able to quit my daytime job or retire to become a potter, not unless you would all like lumpy bowls.
Dreaming big from the East Coast,