Friday, February 15, 2013

As the wheel turns…Good day. Bad clay.

I had a bunch of odd balls of clay leftover from other throwing days and the last of my 100 pounds of clay was gone. The ever-thrifty person that I am, I decide to wedge up the small chunks into bigger chunks and throw them on the wheel. It started out good. Centering went well. Pulling out the plate turned out to be a challenge but that’s not new. I’m still learning the art of plate throwing and it’s tricky.

What was new was the feeling in the clay. The clay felt really squishy from the outside but after centering it got harder than usual. As I pulled up and out, I felt little bumps pop out. Not bubbles but hard little pieces of clay. I cut a few out, compressed around a few and kept on working.

I got a small plate and bowl. I wanted a small cup or mug to go with it. I had another bat, so I decided to give it a whirl.

My gut told me to give up. The small ball of clay didn’t feel right at all. But my stubbornness won out, so I threw it on the wheel anyway. It did not go well. I pressed on. It got worse and worse. I took that ball of clay off and tried another of my re-wedged balls. No luck. I took it off and tried another and another and another. All of them had lumps and bumps that no amount of compressing and centering could fix.

Did I stop?

The challenge was on. I’d gotten two pieces out of this clay, I was going to get one more, my mind reasoned. My gut said, I had bad clay.

Turns out, my gut was right. Of course. The biggest lesson isn’t trying to throw odd crusty balls of clay. It’s not listening to myself and trusting that my gut is the real expert here. Not my mind. But, that’s another lesson to remember as the wheel turns.

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