Have you ever seen a potter at work? Now, that’s what I call magic. Yes! Potter+Potter’s Wheel+Clay = Magic!! Not illusions but real magic. The beauty with which a lump of mud is transformed into a thing of art never ceases to fascinate me.
Do I really need to tell you in so many words that I signed up for pottery class? I am assuming you also know that I am so glad I did. Now stop it! Before you let that voice in your head say, “What?! Yet another hobby?”, take a sneak peek at yourself and see if you would have done it too. Imagine! Isn’t it every human being’s dream to be able to get their hands dirty in some squishy soft mud without having to explain the behaviour to other people or feel the need to justify it? Wouldn’t you have given anything to be able to play in mud, get your clothes dirty, your hands dirty, forget about the world and just spend 4 precious hours kneading and pinching and shaping dirt? It’s like getting a second take at childhood without mommy screaming at you! Haven’t you, as a child, stopped by a puddle of water during the rains and collected the really soft clay from the bottom of the puddle thus having your hands smeared in slush right up to your elbows? How many people get to do that as adults? See? Now you know what I mean!! And if you don’t, you need help. Beyond all doubts!!
And that’s why I say it is magic at so many levels. The clay is magically transformed into art. You are magically transformed into a child again. The world around you disappears magically. Your heart magically fills with joy… and if I don’t come out with the truth now, it will be never. All this magic lasts only till the moment right before it’s my turn to sit at the wheel. When the teacher’s talking, I get so engrossed in admiring his work, that I magically turn deaf. And before I know it, I am sitting at the wheel. I don’t know how I got there. But, that’s when I realise that I haven’t heard a word of what was being said and I haven’t got a clue how to start. Magically everything gets “un-magicked” (reminds me of a collapsing tower of cards) and my ‘mug’, after having been worked on for 15 minutes, looks uglier and more misshapen than it did as a lump of clay.
But, I am not going to give up. If not making pots and vases and other things, I can atleast try and learn to let go! Isn’t that what pottery is about. My teacher says it’s just mud. Have no attachments to your work. Pottery is supposed to bring out the Zen monk in you. Having said that, I feel more confident about being able to make mugs that look like mugs than being able to let go. We’ll see.