I found myself in a predicament this week at the wheel. For the past year, I have spent much of my spare time in the ceramics studio without even having a class, but most of this time was spent throwing bowls. From making them for Empty Bowls to just making them as gifts, bowls really became the only thing I made. It was what I enjoyed making, or maybe just what I was comfortable with, or maybe its just where I found my “flow”.
They say ceramics is like riding a bike – you never forget. This may be true, but I found that my hands no matter how hard I tried kept instinctively making that classic bowl shape. They all differ in some ways but always end up looking the same. From trying to make a teapot in my Ceramics III class, to the task of making 30 red cups, I became frustrated with myself.
But then I realized – this was perfectly natural. It takes a bit to get back into the swing of anything. Anyone who spends time in that studio has felt a struggle at the wheel in one way or another, and I am always willing to help in any way I can. The same was for people who helped me. My teacher and different classmates helped me get back into it. They guided my hands and did demos for me. I now have a leather hard teapot and 15 red cups on my shelf, all of which I am proud of.
I had to go home a few times with the dreaded red clay stain on my pants. The memories of struggling and being frustrated with the clay remained with me. But now I’ve made 15 cups, and the next 15 can be cranked out with one sitting at the wheel.
I now can make the teapot body and cups with ease, but only because some people helped me. They and I went home with that same dreaded Brooklyn Red stain on our pants.