My shoes clunked against on the tile floors. I look at my phone, 7:48. I only have a minute to go down three hallways; I’m going to be late. I turn sharply. 7:49. One more turn. 7:49. I can see the classroom. Brrrrrrrrrring. Mrs. Myer’s voice echoes down the hall. “The next assignment will be a clay pot. ” I make the turn into the classroom, everyone’s eyes shift to me. “Tardy yet again. ” “Sorry. It won’t happen again,” I say quietly.
“The next assignment,” Mrs. Myers continued, “will be a bowl spun on the wheel. It’s due at the end of the week. I knew this day was coming, the day where I would have to use the wheel. The day when Mrs. Myers explained how to use it, I was drifting in the clouds. I knew I should have been more focused. Now, I was clueless and confused. Everyone went into the studio and snatched a wheel to begin. Everyone else was getting the supplies needed. I copied them and found the last wheel available. It was in the corner and had a tick to it that made its spin off. I gathered the supplies I saw others get. First, I had to put on the splash pan on.
The two sides were suppose to overlap each other, but they wouldn’t connect as if they were in an argument and one was stubborn. I looked around almost everyone had theirs together and were off to the next step. Finally, they clicked together. The ones who got their pan put together gathered their tools: a needle tool, a sponge, a water bowl, a bat, and a rib. Next was to together a piece of clay that wasn’t to hard or soft. I wedge the chuck on the clothed table into a circular-cone shape. I walked back over to the wheel sat down and smacked my clay chuck onto the bat.
I pressed my foot against the peddle and watched the clay wobble around and around. It would have been mesmeric if the clay was perfectly center, but it was up and to the right a bit; making a bobble everytime it came around. I watched my neighbor’s hands grip the clay as their wheel turned and turned. I saw their clay become lined up with the center, into a perfect circle. I remembered a piece of Mrs. Myer’s demonstration: interlock your hands with one of you thumbs with the other hands pinky. I tried to do this. I dipped my hands into the tub of water.
Pressed my foot against the pedal. I adjusted the pressure, getting the wheel at a constant slow pace. I placed my hands around the edge of the clay. Unlike my neighbor’s centered clay, my clump of clay looked like an abstract art piece that was suppose to have an artistic meaning behind the deformities. The clump slide off, forcing me to rewedge the wetter clay again. The bell rang, luckily, before I was able to make another fool of myself. It made me realize I had to figure out how to do this on my own time in order to finish.
That night I watched videos on how to use a potter’s wheel and how to center clay. This made it make more sense. According to the videos, and most likely what Mrs. Myers told us during the demonstration, in order to center it, you have to bring the clay up into a cone shape with both of your hands and then bring it down with your hands interconnected. The key was to have steady arms. In class Mrs. Myers saw me struggling to center it, and came over. As she walked her face had a disappointed expression, most likely to the fact I didn’t know what I was doing.
She took my spot at the wheel and showed me what I had seen in the videos. Seeing someone in person do it helped. I did the same motions and got it as close to being centered as you would expect a beginner to get. The next step was to open it. To do this you put your thumbs and slowly open a hole up. After getting a basic hole you raise the clay to get height and depth to the bowl. My fingers raised the clay from the thick bottom half up higher; trying to create a equal thickness on the walls.
Multiple times | accidentally brought up to much clay, and the bowl flops or I aise too much clay that it creates a thin spot. Time after time! wedged, centered, opened, and failed. I didn’t think I would ever be able to make a simple bowl, yet I kept trying. I would think it was going good and would actually be able to do it, but once | got it opened and raised, my hands would make a gash the side, making a thin spot. The week Mrs. Myers had given us went by fast. I knew it was my last day I had before I had to have my bowl out on the drying rack. I gathered my supplies.
I knew it was going to be a good day, my day, when the clay in the bin was freshly pugged, still warm from the machine. I wedged it into the circular-cone shape, smacked it down towards the center of the bat. Brought the clay up and down until it was as centered as it would be. Brought the clay out, creating a pit, and brought the walls up as even as they could be. I was on fire, told myself I wasn’t going to make a mistake, and I didn’t I took the bat off of the wheel, slipped the wire under the bowl. Cover it under a bag, and let it dry out so I could trim it.
In order to make the piece look polish, we trim the bottom to be a lip where the piece sits upon. I had to recenter the piece on the wheel; this time upside downs, and carve off layers until it was what I wanted it to be. It was possible that I could make a hole on the bottom or the side, but luckily I didn’t, I set my bowl with my name on the drying shelf to be fired. Days passed before it was dried enough to be fired. The moment when it came out of the kiln I realized through the heat and clinks my bowl might be the best one but it wasn’t the worst one.
Not only that but it was my own pot of gold. Something had made with my own two hands. If I had quit like I wanted to when I started, I wouldn’t have this bowl that had to be glazed and come home with me. It might not have the brightest sparkle to it but it’ has enough shine to make it glow. I put the hard work and time into it, and it turned out better than I thought in a billion years it would have. Anything is possible if you put the time into it. Even if it might not be the best but it’s yours and nothing or nobody can take that away from you.