Lessons from Pottery Class: Week Two

Sometimes, mistakes can be beautiful.

Ok, it’s week two. I am not expecting perfection, but I would be happy if I didn’t slump every damn mug I try. There is a definite mojo when you are throwing, and I can already feel when I am off. Tonight, I was off. I am hoping lab hours are more productive this week than class time.

Since my hands were covered in slip, I was not prone to grab a picture of my latest failure, so bear with a rudimentary artist’s rendering (perhaps crime scene photo may be more apropos):

Depiction of my oops.

Depiction of my oops.

When you are throwing a pot, you can start to feel when it’s going wrong. It starts as a slight wobble, then a big wobble, and then…flump. My grandmother started with pottery when she was my age, I learned. I wondering if she sat at the wheel looking at the blob of clay in front of her that had just collapsed, swearing like I do. The truth is, my grandmother was always a little more optimist, a little more creative with what could be. And perhaps I might be able to see the potential in the carnage in front of me if I weren’t trying to adhere to a syllabus for class. Either way, when I saw the felled pot in front of me, I thought of this little one of my grandmother’s:

Grandma Lamp

Grandma Lamp

I don’t think this was a mistake that grandma turned into a small hurricane lamp (the wick comes up through the small hole from the reservoir of oil), but it might have been. There are plenty of other pieces of my grandmother’s that I believe might have been rescues she just didn’t want to give up on, like her mother with stray dogs.

What I do know is that when a pot slumps on my wheel, I try to see what I might be able to make out of it. At that point, no one has any expectations that it will be a mug, so what could it be?

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