Just Babbling / mental health

things pottery has taught me

We spent NY at a farm up the way from us and to deal with the large amount of people I don’t know I always take something with that can keep me busy in case I feel uncomfortable. This time I grabbed a little slab of air-dry clay I found in a drawer while cleaning stuff out.

I sat trying to make a clay Beastie, I say trying because even though I’ve made several of him before that was with polymer and well, clay isn’t the same thing. Huge difference actually. Heidi saw me faffing and asked if I like ceramics and said that she goes to pottery classes not far from us. We chatted, I admitted that other than polymer and play-doh I’ve never actually worked with clay and she suggested I come with and get lessons. Of course it was a nodding of the head but mentally thinking that won’t happen because of finances.

Well, a week later Heidi get’s hold of me and asks if I still want to try out pottery cause they need a new intern so if I’m keen I can work for my lessons. Um… YES PLEASE!

So for the past several Tuesday’s I’ve been spending 3pm to 8pm doing something for ME. I leave Fysh with M and I leave my phone in my bag. I get all the things that need to be done completed – at the moment my only task is to wax and glaze finished items but only cause I haven’t had a chance to learn how to pack the kiln properly yet – and then I get to make whatever I want with whatever is there.

I started with the determination for it to all be perfect, to master this because it looks so easy in those youtube videos but let me tell you this… pottery laughed at me and knocked me on my freaking ass then laughed at me some more. I have issues with trying to keep things perfect. M thinks it’s hilarious cause my office space is chaos (organised chaos thank you very much) but it’s true. I have so many illustrations that will never see the light of day because they aren’t right.

Lesson 1

This has to be my biggest lesson so far because I am NOT a very patient person. My first pinch pots took me hours of frustration and slamming of clay but they actually came out pretty cute and have found homes with special people.

My first bowl broke when I was sanding the rim and instead of throwing it away I took a deep breath and declared it a snack bowl. The others thought it was so brilliant they made ones that looked like that on purpose.

Lesson 2
Comfort zones can kill you.

I saw some pins on Pinterest and decided that maybe mugs are my thing, well those came out wonky as well but I can’t wait to make more.

I am all for the perfect and smooth and just all around I don’t know. They aren’t perfect which puts me soooo far out of my comfort zone that it makes me itch a little just thinking about it and yet I’m still so eager to have my wonky mugs glazed so I can use them, feel them, hold them in my hands and sip a latte out of them. In my comfort zone, cause let’s face it, my comfort zone is where I recharge and feel safest and I still need it.

Lesson 3

Just because you don’t get it right the first time doesn’t mean that if you don’t stick with it for a bit you won’t get it at all. I am not good at all things, there are things I suck at. Math, I’m not all that great at it no matter how much I have tried. I get it and then I forget it. But this is something I keep telling Fysh as well. You need to persevere. Keep trying at least a few times before you ultimately “give up” because shit takes time. I didn’t learn to draw over night. My art has taken me many years and many swearwords and papers to get comfortable with. My writing still needs work but I keep trying to write books anyway cause maybe one day I’ll get it right.

Though I have given up on math, I’ll never be able to understand string theory but at least I grasped the basics and they do actually help you get through the day, even pottery.

My first day I could barely make a pinch pot. Now I’m sitting building cephalopods and other more intricate things that make me think I must be a masochist…

Lesson 3

Guys, pottery is a work-out! It might not seem like it but not only is it a wonderful meditative process but wow it can leave you sore. Particularly when you have to try loosen up glaze that was left to stand for months. That shit is like ooblek, so it settles and becomes like a hard liquid and when you try mix it it becomes harder with pressure so you basically have to pull chunks off and then stir and repeat. I ended up shoulder deep (literally) in a tub thing doing this yesterday and my arms feel like they want to fall off.

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