Throwing a 5 pound ball of clay on the wheel was too much for me. After breaking my wrist a few years ago, I didn’t have the strength to do it. It's so easy to stay in the past, even when it's not where you want to be. Last week, I decided to present myself with a challenge.
I cut up three 5 pound balls. Got out the bats and threw.
I had no idea what I was going to throw, actually. I didn’t plan ahead. I just threw the clay on the bat and let it take me for a spin. The first ball came out as a platter over 14” in diameter. I was amazed. I’ve never thrown a platter and my plates have only made it to 8". Encouraged, I threw on the next 5 pound ball. This time, it shaped up into a bowl. I’ve done many bowls in this shape, but, again, not quite this big. I felt I could’ve pushed this one to be a little wider, but I got nervous and stopped. I threw on the last ball. I felt more relaxed now and stared at the ball a while trying to figure out what to make it. Another bowl or platter? A vase? As I pulled it up, it became a wide, curved pot and I saw I was making a container for one of my Angel Wing Begonias or African violets.
Suddenly, I realized the challenge was over. I won in more ways than one.
I learned I’m stronger than I think I am. And what was really holding me back wasn’t my wrist but my fears. The fear of injury and the fear of failure. I faced up to the fear of re-injuring my wrist and found out I was ok. I faced up to my fear of not knowing what I was going to make and found three beautiful forms that I love to throw.
Most important of all, I see that the challenge in life is always about choice.