Do you ever have a lightbulb moment, a tiny thing that feels like a big important metaphorical lesson for life? Well, I’ve been taking a clay class for two months at the Gardiner Museum, a ceramic art museum here in Toronto. While learning to keep my clay from melting into mush, I also learned a few things about being an adult at 27. Lessons I wish I knew in my early 20’s.
Michael signed me up for clay class on my birthday after I said I wanted to try pottery when I retire. We’re a bit early for retirement planning but fail to plan, plan to fail, you know? Anyway, I’ve used air-dry clay at home but hand building, wheel-throwing and glazing is a whole other ballgame. I based my entire knowledge of pottery from that iconic pottery scene from Ghost with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze, but it’s not that easy. It’s actually pretty difficult and physical.
Today I’ll share my new glazed bowls back from the kiln and a few life lessons I learned along the way.
You know that thing that’s really good for you that you’ve been putting off doing because you just don’t feel like it? Maybe it’s the gym or finishing a project. Well there were nights after work when I just wanted to go home, put on my sweatpants and eat chocolate. I did not want to spend 3 hours over a pottery wheel trying to turn a sludgy mountain of clay into something resembling a vase. But I showed up and I always left happy and energized. Always.
I can’t tell you how many bowls I painstakingly glazed with a colour in mind, only to get it back from the kiln looking completely different! Not bad, just different. No one ever tells you no matter how hard you work or how much you plan, things may not work out. You may get dumped or fired or fail miserably. It sucks. But things have a way of resolving themselves. And when I let go of expectations, I notice there’s so much to be happy about.
This pot was meant to be a pale mint green with just a hint of rusty brown along the edges. Now it just looks like two different kinds of mold. Fail! I tried something new and it didn’t work. That’s the price of taking risks in anything. Sometimes the fear of failing publicly, in front of our friends and embarrassing ourselves can stop us from trying at all. But next time you want to chicken out, think of this quote:
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing and becomes nothing.
– Leo F. Buscaglia