Back in 2019, one of my daughters took a ceramics class at our local community college. I had always wanted to try my hand at it, but life was busy with carpooling duties and homeschooling. Chloe would bring home these beautiful creations and kept asking me to buy her more tools. (Now I am shocked that she didn’t ask for even more!) I would ask her questions, living vicariously through this cool opportunity she had. Do you change for pottery? No, I don’t get dirty. (This is SO like her. I am definitely the dirtiest potter out there)
Is it relaxing? I can imagine it being a little calming. Yeah, it kind of is. I remember her explaining this wild and crazy trashcan fire they did for their pots. I had never heard of the raku technique.
Fast forward to 2023. I have had my business for 2 years and love nothing more than sitting at the wheel for hours, going through the calming and repetitive motions required for throwing cylinder after cylinder. I never anticipated that me trying yet another hobby (Taking after my dad, who also has adhd, I am a bit of a hobby collector.) would turn into this. And now, another one of my daughters is taking ceramics 101.
Before her classes started, I convinced her to let me teach her how to throw. At least how to center? Her meticulous and detail oriented personality was a perfect match for the wheel, but once she started her class, she would only regale me with stories of her hand building adventures. For the record, I kind of hate hand building. It isn’t relaxing for me, thus it lacks the mental health benefits that I experience while working on the wheel. But Elise is infamous for doing things her way.
I have loved hearing about all of Elise’s works in progress and have heard myself telling her several times — after all, one of the reasons why I had recommended ceramics 101 was so she could have 3 easy and creative credits in her schedule — that sounds like a hard project.
Do you have time for that? Couldn’t you use *insert easier and already completed project* for that assignment? Aren’t you making this class harder than it needs to be? I heard tales of a replica piano. Don’t those have a lot of keys? I recommended she make a small duck figurine to honor her pet ducks but I soon heard about a duck bowl that was quite large?
I shook my head in a mix of dismay and respect. I have always seen glimpses into Elise’s creative side, but artsy daughter number 6 always got the limelight. (much like Elise is infamously known as the daughter who loves Harry Potter, despite all of the family loving harry potter only slightly less than her.) Fast forward to today. Her big showcase of projects looked different than we had both planned. It was over FaceTime with only her video working and me sitting in an airport lounge, forced into only responding to each piece by text.
I do not have words to describe her little army of ceramic 101 projects. I am regretting ever encouraging her to take the easy route. Her duck bowl? The glaze job on it was impeccable and it full on looks like one of our ducks that met an untimely demise. Her replica piano had its bitsy piano keys that she attached onto the keyboard, one by one. The lid of the piano had a floral glaze pattern that mimicked her tiny piano figurine that inspired the piece.
Several times over the past week, she has asked me to sit with her while she sculpts and carves. She says it relaxes her. I loved creating side by side with her at the end of the day— but really, I just can’t wait to see what she brings to life next. Ceramics 101, thank you for lighting a fire.