“She is a beautiful piece of broken pottery, put back together by her own hands. And a critical world judges her cracks while missing the beauty of how she made herself whole again.” — ― J.M. Storm
Ever since I saw the movie Ghost in the 90s, I’ve always wanted to learn how to make pottery. Who wouldn’t want to take a lump of clay and create something beautiful out of it?
As the years have passed, however, I lost interest. Instead of making beautiful pottery, I got busy making other things like babies, Halloween costumes, and casseroles to feed my growing family of 7. Although I was definitely creating, it just wasn’t the same as having a creative outlet. But as a busy Mom, I didn’t have the energy to create things just for myself. So over time, I put away the latch-hook rug kits, quilting squares, and painter’s canvases knowing I’d eventually be able to make time to create again. I just didn’t know when.
Making time to create
That day finally came when I decided to add some creative activities to my List of 50 Things Before I Turn 50. The process of deciding was a lot of fun. There were so many things I didn’t yet know how to do (or at leastnot well). I considered adding “Learn how to crochet, watercolor, and fold origami” to my List. Instead, I added paint, create stained glass, and refinish a dresser.
As I continued to think about what I wanted to create, I got excited about the idea of finally creating a piece of pottery. And that’s how #18, “Take a Pottery Class,” came to be. At first, I looked for local community classes teaching pottery, but I didn’t have any luck. I then figured I’d need to try and find someone with a potter’s wheel who could teach me.
Well, luckily for me, I found myself swiping on a dating app one evening and an advertisement for a couple’s date night at The Kreative Kiln came up on my screen. Just what I was looking for. Bam! I paid for the date night and then wondered who I’d invite to join me.
Date night with my brother
One Saturday, as I was hiking with my brother, Bryan, I mentioned The Kreative Kiln to him. As I talked about making pottery, he mentioned that this is something he had wanted to do. And so, a “date night” with my brother was scheduled.
So, on a summer Tuesday evening, we met at The Kreative Kiln in Pleasant Grove. The Kreative Kiln is a ceramic studio founded by Tyler Nyland. Passionate for the arts, Tyler believes “No matter what you’re going through in your life, whether trials or bliss, pottery makes everything better.”
Well, with everything going on in my Skiwampus life, I felt certain this pottery night would make everything better—at least for one night.
Learning from the instructor
When we arrived, we stepped through the lobby and into a large, spacious studio with high ceilings and a floor covered in potter’s wheels. After directing us to sit at one of the stations, our instructor proceeded to explain what we would be doing and how much time we had to complete our project. He then took a lump of clay and began to shape and form it with water. He explained how you need to keep the clay wet, how you need to interlock your fingers, anchor your elbows, squeeze the clay from the bottom, and work your way up to the top of the clay. Most of all, you need to make sure you don’t make the base too thin or else it won’t be supportive, and it can end up…well, Skiwampus.
So much to remember
The things you have to always remember are: 1) go slow, 2) keep the clay wet, and 3) stay centered (keep your body still). After his instructions, we each sat at a station and started working the clay. At first, it didn’t seem too difficult. However, it was only a matter of minutes before I realized why pottery costs so much. It’s an art and not as simple as Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore made it look in Ghost.
While we continued to work our clay, I sat across from my brother and watched admiringly as he sculpted his piece with precision. He seemed like a pro.
Not as easy as it looks
Sadly, my lump of clay would not cooperate. Instead of the vase I’d hoped to create, I ended up creating a low bowl. Even though it wasn’t a vase, I was still pretty proud of it until the instructor helped me remove it from the wheel. It wasn’t until then that I realized I had made the base too thin.
Fortunately, the instructor assured me he could “fix” it before firing the clay, so it wasn’t a complete loss. Six weeks later, I received my finished piece that the Kiln painted and fired for me. I was so excited to see the finished piece but was somewhat disappointed when I saw that the pure white finish I’d requested, had a fleck of blue paint in it. Grrrrr…
Imperfect like some pottery
So, my beautiful piece of pottery isn’t perfect. The base has been repaired, it’s a little off-center, and the sides aren’t as smooth as I would have liked. My pottery is Skiwampus—like my life is. However, my life is full of wonderful and challenging things that have molded, shaped, and fired me into the person I am today. So even though I’m not perfect, and I often feel broken, I’d still like to think I’m beautiful.