I don’t believe in beginner’s luck.
It’s a myth. If you get something right the first go around, it’s just your starting point, a place on which you can improve. It may be better than your neighbor’s, but it’s rarely better than your next attempt.
In class, we are asked to do things in fours: four bowls, four mugs, etc. Part of this is for practice, and part of it is because so much can go wrong between throwing, trimming, firing, glazing, and glaze firing. You play the odds by making four of something in the hopes that one will survive.
This week, we were asked to make four vases. My attempts were great examples of the evolution of getting better:
The first one is barely more than a bowl. Then I managed a little bit of a lip on the next one. Then I actually created a shoulder on the thing, and lastly, it kinda looks like a vase. When I threw the first bowl/vase, I was rather pleased with myself. Clay naturally wants to lean out, hence why bowls are great to beginning projects. Attempting mugs next is the fight to get the clay to go up, not out. Vases involve getting the clay to go up and back in. I was quite proud of it until I looked at #4 and thought, “hmm, so that’s what I am trying to do.”
I am hoping I have time in the coming weeks to go back and throw some of the starting pieces in class, just to see what a bowl or a mug look like after I moved on to the more advanced pieces. By the end of this class, we are supposed to be building a teapot. I think I will be just as excited if I have a mug that doesn’t look like my six-year-old made it.
It’s only week three, and I think I have already decided to sign up for classes again. This is the beginning of an addictive hobby.