Throwing the pottery

potteryI had one box left.

Upon opening it, I discovered that everything was neatly wrapped in newspapers. Instantly, I knew the contents: my pottery.

Flash back.

I worked as a customer service representative at The American Ceramic Society when I first moved to Columbus, and I was intrigued by the artistic side: pottery. I thought that if I was going to be talking to people on the phone, who were calling about their Ceramics Monthly or Pottery Making Illustrated subscriptions, I should probably know something about pottery.

That is, I should know something other than Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze in Ghost.

Within two months of working at the ceramic society, I began taking pottery making classes. I found a gal in German Village, named Lisa Bare Culp, who had a studio in her basement. (She also had a cute little pug named Elvis!) Lisa’s studio, Bareclay, had several wheels, a kiln, a room for glazes, and lots of space to work the clay.

The little pieces of pottery that I made sucked. I can say that because it’s true! The photo above is proof. I wouldn’t even give a piece to my Mom because my work was so sad. (And for that, I am sure she is quite thankful!) Of course, I did recognize that making beautiful vases, dishes, and mugs takes a lot of practice, and I was only just beginning. I got a lot more out of the pottery classes, however, than my sad, misshaped bowls.

Pottery making lessons taught me how to clear my mind and meditate.

I enjoyed pounding the air bubbles out of the fresh clay. I liked rolling and pressing patterns into it, finding out I didn’t like the design, and then trying again. I was mesmerized as I stared down at the wet clay while it spun in circles between my hands on the wheel. I zoned out listening to the hum of the wheel’s motor. My mind was clear, and I didn’t think about anything else during the time I was in Lisa’s studio.

Flash forward.

So I unwrapped all of the pottery pieces that I made ten years ago, and I was greatly humored – none of the pieces were a perfect circle. Everything looked like an ashtray or an extra-large gravy boat.

I pulled out three pieces and threw the rest away. I knew that I couldn’t do anything with the odd-shaped bowls. They had been sitting in a box for five of the ten years that I had had them, so clearly they didn’t mean anything to me.

The experience of making pottery was more important than the lasting artifact. It’s the experience that I remember the most, and it’s the experience that I’d like to try again.


Learn more about pottery by visiting the following sites:

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