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Adventures in Clay OR Lesson in Humility

Today was my second class of wheel thrown pottery. I have been doing hand-building for about
6 years and absolutely love the possibilities that come from taking a chunk of clay and forming it
into something pleasing. I love organic shapes which to me translate into not perfect! At least that's
what I've been telling myself for the last 6 years. "It doesn't have to be exactly square or exactly
round because it's handbuilt!" I guess that is what drew me to handbuilding rather than trying to
throw on a wheel that spins around.
New year-try new things--right? Well I signed up for a wheel class. Just jumped right in last week.
At my first class I went in with the nagging feeling that I was going to be horrible at it. I kept telling
myself that it's much harder than it looks--too much precision!
Well, I'll be darned if I didn't take to it like a duck to water. I was hooked-totally in love with the
wheel. I threw 5 bowls last Wed. And they all look like bowls! I didn't make a complete mess AT ALL. I felt quite proud of myself. Patted myself on the back even. Classmates were amazed at my success. I came home and boasted to my husband that I was a 'natural'.
Then TODAY-class #2... I go into the studio and had to trim the bottoms on the 5 beautiful bowls I made last week. Not too much of a problem but it did take some patience. I couldn't
wait to throw a blob of clay down on the wheel and go at it. Only this time I totally screwed up!
I destroyed my first bowl right away. Then my 2nd and 3rd attempt wasn't alot better. Trashed
those and grabbed a 4th mound of clay determined to get it right. After much embarassment,
a little swearing and ALOT of patience I got a bowl right. I went on to make another that was
also pretty good. Then came another disaster. I was able to create one more bowl before finally
giving in and coming home.
I guess my point of this endless chatter is... my attitude last week going into class was that it was
going to be a true test in patience for me and a matter of really 'feeling the clay'. I knew it was going to take me weeks before I could master this skill, if ever.
But since it came so easily to me last week I went in today with all the cockiness of a seasoned
pro, thinking I could just breeze right on through and start turning out vases and urns of all
shapes and sizes.
Alas! I learned my lesson... Patience and Practice, Practice, Practice.


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