I am impatient to give it another try.
there are these drying things from last week that need our attention. If the clay has dried just the right amount, you can shave edges off like cheese. If it's too dry, the clay crumbles when you try to trim it, and you dip it quickly into the bucket of water. The clay responds quickly to water.
These are all things that I kind of learned in my backyard mud puddle apprenticeships with daughters and sons and grandsons. Who knew there would be such helpful application for those joyous summertime afternoons?
And so we learn the art of trimming a pot that has been drying in a warm and covered location for a week. We learn about the markings a potter and a daughter of a potter put onto the bottom of a pot, to mark it. We learn about hollowing out the area that will rest on a surface - so that there is less contact of hot pottery with table or counter top. Trimming tools are the size of a long pencil, with looped wide metal edges on the ends.
You put the pot onto the wheel again to trim it.
upside Down so that you can trim the bottom.
A second chance to fix what might have been done poorly on the wheel the first time.
I am forcing myself to pay attention. I just want to spin with fresh clay.
Those who had no pots from last week are already working with new opportunities.
After an opening demo from our instructor, reminding us of the importance of anchoring the arms, giving us a sense of positioning of the hands, reminding us to take control of the clay (hmmmm), and other nuanced wisdom from hours and days sitting with spinning things, we are off to our own wheels.
My initial attempts to "take control of the clay" go poorly as my hands grip too tightly and the clay just lets go of the wheel and moves right off the spinning circles. Twice. There seems to be a lot of water, and our calm, good natured instructor looks at me and says something like
"oh yes. mud puddle lady. too much water."
One more time I roll the bit of clay, shape the bottom, smack it onto the wheel, and begin to spin. Instead of gripping tightly to force it to centre and up, I decide to do the other thing, and push it down into centre. it agrees immediately with me and we have a truce.
This thing ... this spinning and centered reality ...
wheel does the work
fingers and hands stay steady, moving slowly
in and out
up and down
can't help but think of time,
and all the things that spin
a sharp exclamation in the room yanks me from my own spinning
and my classmate's mug has a new shape with a fold
the instructor looks and smiles. perfect. she says.
just leave it like that
the fun thing about hearing a new word while everyone's hands are deep into clay
is that no one can dive for their google device
we throw the word around to find out what on earth it means
we grin at our awkward, crooked, folded, stunted clay vessels
as it should be
this word puts me on the wheel