For years I have been trying to find the perfect creative outlet—something to quiet my brain, yet busy my hands.
At first, I thought knitting was the perfect past time because it allowed me to create while also binging past seasons of “Bachelor in Paradise” and “Friday Night Lights.” As the adorable baby sweaters and blankets piled up, so did the requests for custom knit sweaters and scarves. I soon realized that the stress I was trying to escape was slowly creeping in and I decided to put the needles down.
So I was back on the hunt—this time looking for something messier and less perfect. I needed something that didn’t involve patterns or precision. That’s when I stumbled upon a small ceramics studio in Tribeca. The floors were creaky, the pottery wheels were squealing, the air conditioning was rattling and the room was filled with the perfect mix of laughter and concentration. I immediately felt like I belonged and enrolled in the 10-week beginners’ class.
Every Monday that followed, I looked forward to walking down to the studio on Chambers Street, changing into old clothes, and getting elbow deep in some mud. One thing I learned quickly is that you need to be relaxed in order to work the clay. Stoneware clays don’t care if you had a long day or if you’re stressed out. They require calm intention and a whole lot of love.
I have come to appreciate how pottery has forced me to chill out in order to create something beautiful. Surprisingly, I also respect how much failure is involved in success when it comes to pottery. It’s wise not to get too attached to a piece because, while it may look beautiful coming off the wheel, it can explode in the kiln, or the glaze can betray you; leaving you with something only a grandmother will love. That’s right. Not even your own mother will want that brownish eyesore that you try to pass off as a thoughtful birthday gift.
While sharing my thoughts on ceramic arts, I gave everyone in the studio a block of clay and asked them to sculpt something. It’s always fun to see what people will come up with when given a blank canvas. From sculpted faces to tacos on a pedestal, I was left with new ideas to bring with me to next Monday’s class.