Sure! Pottery!


While we were at home in the States I started to look ahead to returning to Berlin and began to realize that I needed something to really look forward to in our return. I needed something exciting that I wouldn’t be able to wait to do. I needed something in my schedule so that it didn’t feel like I was just free floating out there. And it needed to start before my German class begins on Feb. 11.

I had somehow gotten connected with an English speaking ceramics studio through Instagram. Not exactly sure how but I had seen that she was offering classes. I couldn’t sign up for the last one but then the email came sometime in January that the classes were opening up again…6 weeks. Learning the wheel. All materials included and at a really great price. Sure it is across town but for once a week…doable. I took a deep breath and signed up. I have always wanted to learn how to make pottery on the wheel. Last year I kept trying to find a class in Portland but classes fill up immediately and are super expensive (do we hear how hipster this is???).

It just seemed to me that there is something magical about shaping clay on the wheel.  I have always been mesmerized by those pottery videos as well. I’ve even been in church services where potters were brought in to talk about the clay being shaped and formed by God.  We are vessels and all of that.  It looked as if something I would be just taken with.

As the first class approached last night, I started to get really nervous. What am I doing?? I am not that domestic!  What is my deal?????  I am probably going to HORRIBLE at this! I am creative with words…not necessarily with any other medium.  I fretted and paced and threatened to quit. It’s too much, I told Ana. She kept reassuring me…I should go and if I am horrible at it I made a thing. If I love it…well, then look at that! I made a thing or many things! Plus I already paid and I said yes and it’s too late to cancel.  I thought that because I have to miss the last class…I should bail. But then the owner of the studio wrote back…no problem! I can make it up!  Ok, no excuses….

So I got on the bus and then the UBahn and then the bus and finally arrived.  One instructor, 4 women about the same age from all over and four wheels ready to go. Our instructor provided a demonstration. I looked around…these three other women seemed to know what he was saying. How come I can’t figure out what he is telling us???

After his demonstration he looks up and says, “Ok, time to just get on the wheels. Let’s wedge some clay.” They all move to the area while I stand there with my mouth wide open. I finally ask, “What does that mean?”  He laughs and says, “Oh yeah, let me show you.” He does. I look around like….get a load of this guy?  They just look at me like its all good.  I turn back to him, “How do you know it is ready?”  He says, “you don’t….you just know.”  WHAT?  Ok.  We start to wedge. He walks away. I watch these women take the clay very seriously and finally ask, “Have you guys done this before?”

“No.” “No.” “No.”

“Anyone else feel a little terrified that they will mess it all up and not remember anything he just said?”

Finally. lots of laughter. We are all on the same page….thank God.  It just took the more up front American to say it so loudly.

We keep wedging and finally he calls us over.  We all sit at our wheels. He says, “Ok, go for it.”  Silence.

Me again…”So Ransom, what do we do first?”

They laugh.

He tells us and we try it. And guess what???? I do it!!  And I am spinning and my hands are fully in this clay mess and I am absolutely into it.

“Hey Ransom….what now?”

They laugh because they are thinking the exact same thing.

He tells us.

One of us totally messes up and guess what?? It’s totally awesome and we laugh and now we are all totally into it and experimenting and feeling and learning.  He is guiding my hands to fix it or coaching or chiding out possibilities of what this lump of clay could be. I make things that might some day resemble cups or some sort of container. We shall see but then again maybe it’s my style….finding it out.

And the wheel is as mesmerizing as I thought it could be while I felt it and moved the clay and formed something out of this lump.  And I messed up and it wasn’t graceful and my arms were covered in clay.  I loved it.

I think I am really going to enjoy this! Plus I feel as though there will be much to learn as the weeks continue.  I walked back to the UBahn with a new friend and we chatted about how cool this just might be.  I can’t wait until next Tuesday!

One Comment Add yours

  1. Funny to think about the image of God as potter, and us as clay. Maybe S/He just went for it! We’re all a little different, and perfect in our imperfection.

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