There are so many ways in which things can go wrong in the pottery studio! Some days are simply bad clay days when it’s better to find something else to do because nothing I put on the wheel will come out the way I envision it. Other days things are going well on the wheel but I push the clay too far and it simply collapses in exhaustion. I was on a roll making platters when I tried to stretch the rim just a little bit more and the whole thing went down. I tried to save it by scrunching up the rim in the hope that it might turn out to look as if I had intended it that way but in the end tossed it back into the reclaim bucket.
Other times it’s easier to save pots that have encountered a mishap on the wheel. A mug that went flying off the wheel while I was trimming it ended up having a sweet little indent on the rim that (maybe?) makes it look a bit heart-shaped.
Then there are the kiln-related calamities: breaking pots as you’re placing them in the kiln is nothing compared to the dreaded kiln explosion as seen in the main photo above.
I find that life is a lot like making pots. You spend most of your time trying to make that idea in your head into a real thing you can wrap your hands around. Searching for the perfect job, the perfect relationship, the perfect house… the perfect pot. After much work, it turns out that the pot you get out of the kiln isn’t much like what you had in mind. After struggling, you have a moment of perfect understanding and peace: you sit at the wheel and make gorgeous pots effortlessly… and then the moment is gone. I’ve learned that life, like making pots, is about embracing failure. Not being afraid to fail frees us to spread our wings a bit farther, push the clay a bit more… it might collapse… or it might yield a beautiful pot! So it is with life. Fear can keep us from much joy. I am learning to be fearless now!