Friday, 5 August 2016

The Potters Wheel

As part of my Summer 2016 plan to be more selfish and organise less "family-friendly" activities, I've joined a pottery group. I've actually been on the list to join the class for around 5 months; they only have a handful of places which have proven to be extremely popular, with some members never leaving!

I felt extremely lucky to get an email offering me a place.

Being a creative person, I attended my first class naively, with a spring in my step, thinking that I would morph into a natural potter over night and within months maybe buy my own potters wheel and begin making beautiful, little pieces of handmade pottery to sell. I envisioned a website, lots of instagram followers and a pathway out of teaching... hooray!


I was greeted by Master Potter with a question "Have you done this before?"
I boasted about the lovely bowl I'd made at a pottery day at a Wedgewood factory some months ago. He laughed at me and smiled, "Ok, well watch me and then have a go at making that bowl again."

It seemed so easy, watching him massage the clay with his hands, creating defined shapes within seconds, his body and expression so at ease with his work. I couldn't wait to crack on and create my bowl.

Move over Master Potter, let me show you what I can do.

My first mistake was covering the clay in water before I'd even had chance to throw it on to the wheel, miserably and pathetically it slid right off the wheel and Master Potter laughed in delight "first lesson: we throw the clay on dry." Blushing, I retrieved my second piece of clay and threw it onto the wheel and began cranking up the speed using the foot pedal, only my foot wasn't positioned properly and Master Potter had to stop me once again. His brash, sarcastic, yet friendly demeanour had me feeling a little anxious at this point and I knew I was about to make plenty of laughable mistakes. Master Potter stayed close by to save the clay from drowning amongst many other harmful creative things I did to it and in the end, we collectively produced a goblet shaped piece of clay. Ok, Master Potter produced a goblet shaped piece of clay, despite the incompetent contributions I made.

"Try again now, by yourself" said Master Potter and so I did with a nervous, shaky confidence.
"Tea, coffee?" He asked.

"Do you do water?" I asked nervously and pathetically, regretting the ridiculous question before I'd spoken the final syllable.

" It's amazing, water comes out of the tap right behind you!" Responded Master Potter. I knew I was going to like him, but not yet, because at this point, I thought Master Potter was a dick.

I didn't manage to create another piece of pottery and I was glad to be taken off the wheel to have a go at hand moulding the clay. There were other potters doing the same thing, all avoiding the wheel for similar reasons to my own.

I left my first pottery class feeling a bit stupid. Pottery making is a wonderful but very specialised skill and I saw many talented potters creating the most beautiful shapes out of clay with ease; I felt as though I was a million miles away from what they were achieving. I hope Master Potter can chuckle at my naivety, although I'm guessing he's seen it before. I feel daunted about my next class, worried that I'll never be able to quite grasp the art of pottery, worried that I'll settle for making clay shapes with my hands (another wonderful skill) but that's not the reason I started the class in the first place. Most of all, I hope I can make mistakes without falling to pieces (a bit like my clay creations)!

No comments:

Post a Comment