This guest blog was written by Chelle Hoffman. I love her insight. Enjoy!
I believe that even people who don’t deem themselves artists need artistic type of activity for good brain function. As a creative type, I get bored sometimes with normal paint-by-number expressions so when I saw an ad to “throw clay” I became interested in learning this, especially since my only knowledge came from the movie Ghost. I scheduled my class and was so pleased with the wonderful teacher I met. Erin had a gift for sharing her passion for clay.
I went into the studio and she explained the process. I took a seat in a folding chair behind the pottery wheel and she came at me with a handful of glob. The clay looked like something I would see little boys playing with on a rainy day at the park. Nothing impressive at all. Ugly gray and just a true mess. She plopped it down hard onto the middle of the wheel and then she wet her hands and mine with a sponge. She then showed me how to use the pedal to spin the wheel as if I was driving to stay in second gear, smooth and slow. She then placed her hands over mine and explained the types of pressure that was needed to understand what the clay wanted to become. It made me laugh a little when I began to think… ok…. what the clay wants to become!
Before I knew it, we were spinning that blob into our first “vessel” waiting for it to transform. And there it was–my first piece of clay artwork! I was so impressed with Erin and how she made me feel like this was my actual work. I was so happy with what we had created. Then she said it was fine for me to try again. I wasn’t ready but it’s just clay so what the heck.
She plopped the second glob down. Before I knew it (and with some of her help) I had made a spirally whimsical bowl that was a little lopsided so we added a handle and a spout and there was my second masterpiece.
Time to go completely solo but I felt ready. Down plops the third blob of clay. Wetting my hands and sponge I took my time, remembered my pressure points, used my way too long fingernails, and created my first true solo vase! It wasn’t perfect, but it was all mine and I was proud.
When Erin asked me which of the three pieces was my favorite, I explained the first is my favorite because it was my first ever experience with a new adventure. That one will go to my daughter so she knows to never be afraid to try new things. The second is also my favorite because it is whimsical and shows me even when we make mistakes it can still turn out a-ok! And the third is my favorite because it was done all by myself without any fear, but rather confidence. Confidence as a woman is so hard to come by because we are always our worst critic, but this showed me I might just actually be able to do anything if I try and if I can’t, that’s ok too! I won’t choose one favorite. It doesn’t work that way- love doesn’t have favorites or limits.
Creating these “vessels” from a plopped blob on a spinning wheel was just like everyday life for all of us. We are just trying to create something we can be proud of with our lives even though some days it just looks like a plopped blob!