For years, decades really, I’ve wanted to take a pottery class.

A few months ago, the way opened and I finally took the plunge. I enrolled in a hand-building class at the Xiem Clay Center here in Pasadena.

At first, I was shy around the clay! Even while alone with a giant block of it in my own apartment.

I don’t like people to watch while I’m “creating”, I now realize: the same reason (along with my abysmal “technique”) I was unable to participate in the recital for a group piano class I took several years ago. Though the pottery class met every Wednesday night I soon found I was happier taking my clay home and sitting with it at the dining room table while we got acquainted.

All I really wanted, from the beginning, was to fashion a bunch of tiny misshapen bowls.

I’d stayed at the apt. of my friends Lisa and Paolo last year for a month while they were out of town. They’d both taken classes at Xiem and in their kitchen were a ton of these minuscule Lisa-made bowls. I sincerely think my attraction to them is some atavistic leftover from trillions of years ago when humans were still insects, or birds. Whatever the case, my whole being thrilled to these tiny nest-like objects.

Simple though they appear, for a while fashioning even one of these tiny misshapen receptacles was beyond me. But after many hours of practice, during which I silently encouraged myself to let love be my guide, a couple of them started to take shape.

Then a couple more. Then five, eight, ten…

The other students quickly moved on to coils and slabs and there I sat, making tiny bowl after tiny bowl. Plus the things shrink after bisque-firing so most of them became even tinier than I’d planned, as in capable of holding, say, a single walnut, or three paper clips.  “Can I just make another bowl?” I’d plaintively ask our instructor Titia, who I’m sure did not care if I made a thousand of them as long as I didn’t exceed my cubic-inch kiln allotment, and besides was too busy helping the others make three-tier jewelry boxes, complicated teapots, and four-gallon planters.

Glazing was fun, too, though again I couldn’t really let go and experiment the way I would have like to in front of my fellows.

here I got really daring and (none too successfully) pressed
a couple of sidewalk-scavenged leaves into the wet clay
anyway if you ever need a place to put your used teabag, week’s Klonopin supply, or single AAA battery, come on over!

7 Replies to “MY POTTERY CLASS”

  1. Totally lovely. Clay is addictive and sensuous, isn't it?

    1. Yes, Altoon! I've been following your new clay works with interest. All kidding aside, I could see devoting an entire life to studying and developing a single simple form. I know you're not doing ceramics/pottery per se but there's a newish book by well-known artist Edmund de Waal called White Road about his obsession with the roots of porcelain. So glad your pea/bean fence is up, too! Happy spring…

  2. Oh, they are so adorable!

    1. And so are you, Miss Karin!

  3. Dearest Heather, this post about potter and clay inspires me to write a note to let you know that our Lord is using your words and life in powerful ways to inspire many seminarians here at St. Mary's in Baltimore, MD. Some of us are planning to start a book club/prayer group for the Year of Mercy which centers around "Stumble," and I know that one seminarian quoted one of your passages recently in a practice homily. I simply wanted to say thank you, to ask for your prayers for all of us (I am being ordained a transitional deacon next month for Wilmington, Del.) and be assured of my prayers for you and your ministry. May each one of us love as the Good Shepherd does. Christ's peace!

    1. Well that makes my day Mr.Jasper!–please give the seminarians at St. Mary's in Baltimore my very best and I could really use a prayer. Better yet, maybe you and they could send up a prayer for my ex-sister-in-law who has wet brain from alcoholism and has also just been diagnosed with Stage 4 throat and tongue cancer.

      Plus that's grand you'll soon be ordained a deacon in Wilmington. A dear friend, the world-famous actor Patrick Kerr, hails from there! Prayers for all of you as we pilgrimage on–I'm so glad if my books have helped–

    2. Heather, I promise prayers for you and your ex-sister-in-law, and will offer my Holy Hour this morning for you both. Love in Christ, Rich


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