Posts tagged ‘adventure’

Life of a Pottery Wheel

By: Rebecca Taylor

**Previously published in 2009 by Perspectives Magazine**

Some say I live a mundane life, but I just laugh and tell them it is anything but that. I am a creator of many fine items like vases, which hold the flowers picked by tiny hands and given with great care to their mothers. Not only do I assist in inventing beautiful items and precious memories but I also create a living for Linai Prichard, the pottery teacher and a supplemental income for a few of her students. If you have not yet guessed, I am a pottery wheel. It is a very rewarding vocation, everyday my heart is touched by many different individuals. I find my life intriguing getting to be involved in the process of creating unique projects depending on the artist’s mood and personality. I love seeing a chunk of clay become a useful or decorative item. There are classes in my home at the studio for all ages and skill levels. Seeing the children, some as young as three work their magic on me is amazing. They are so unafraid of making a mistake in shaping their artwork, unlike some of the adults who take a more cautious approach. Children are fearless when it comes to making a mess; to them designing a piece of pottery is like making a different kind of mud pie.

The feeling of hands of any age turning the clay over my body creates an incredible sensation. I wonder if this is what it feels like for a dog to be brushed by its master or to play fetch, at peace doing what it loves. Sometimes when nobody is spinning my wheel, I sit and watch the students decorate their pottery; some are talented in drawing and create very realistic designs like waterfalls and horses. Other students use designs are more abstract; some even engrave or paint words on their pieces. As long as these students are happy with themselves and their creations, I can smile.

The most frightening part of the pottery experience is having the artwork be placed in the kiln. The hot air can be felt in the studio, it is like having all of the windows closed in a kitchen and turning the stove up to full blast on a sultry day. This makes sense to me because mostly a kiln is a giant oven heated to harden the clay and preserve the design of the artwork that is on it. Most of the time the pottery comes from the kiln unscathed,  but there have been a few times when cracks have appeared and Linai assists her student in remodelling the piece with extra clay to give it the necessary thickness it needs so it does not fracture in the kiln. When I see beautifully completed pieces come out of the kiln safely, I always breathe a sign of relief. These pieces have a lot more courage than I do, I am afraid of the fire in the kiln.

In my eighteen years of being a pottery wheel, the most amazing experience that I recall is the story of Jennifer and Stephane Arbour. Jennifer had brought her boyfriend Stephane to a pottery class so he could see why this art form was important to her. Jennifer guided Stephane’s hands on me, the clay becoming caked to their hands as we sculpted the terracotta into a plate. Jennifer and Stephane left the studio after setting the plate aside to dry. Two days later, they came back and as Jennifer sat down to paint a teacup she had previously sculpted, Stephane sat down to design the plate. He experimented with some colour and eventually said, “Jennie, what do you think of this?”

Jennifer looked over at the plate and read the message that was surrounded by hearts and smiley faces. It read: Jennie, will you marry me?” Jennifer didn’t say anything for a minute, but her face held a surprised expression. “Yes, I’ll marry you.” she answered engulfing Stephane in a hug. Linai took of picture of them standing with their plate. This picture hangs in the studio reminding us all how pottery can touch lives in so many ways. Anyone, regardless of age or talent can give me a whirl, and if you’re having fun so will I, no matter what the outcome of the project. I’ve seen many improvements in the students’ works over the years as they learn with practice how to be a better potter. I hold their joy and perseverance close to my heart. I think I have the best job on earth. Living the life of a pottery wheel is never boring.

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Adventure Awaits

“You know you want to come along.”

I rolled over in my bed and glared at the window. I saw the Tim’s lean frame through the window and was pretty sure I could make out a grin on his face. I also knew that if he was here, I was going to leave with him. The thing to know about Tim is that he always wears the most beautiful jeans from Buckle and that he is quite manipulative.

“I’m sleeping, go away,” I said in a mock-sleepy voice. I had hardly slept the last few nights. If anything besides manipulative, Tim was predictable. I could see his restless heart probably better than he could and knew he was about done with this place.

See this here is how it happened. We got recruited right out of high school. They bring in kids from all over the U.S. They train us and then send us out into the world to do quests or some crap. They didn’t really give us much detail but we are trained in most of the same stuff that the army is trained in along with professional business-speak and such. I could work in an office or be an assassin. The missions vary but this is a private company owned by some crazy old man who seems to want to control the world. It is all a little odd but we get paid really well and right out of high school, I wasn’t ready for the ramen college life and so I took up their offer.

“Don’t make me come in there,” Tim said, starting to hoist himself up through the window.

I went the two steps it took to cross my cabin and opened the door in a resigned manner. Tim often came to visit me. He was my closest friend here and we were probably the closest friends out of the group. But we didn’t really hang out with the same people when we did group activities, didn’t quite attract the same person, I guess. My friends were lamer and I knew it.

He walked in and sat down at my reading chair. I hated when people sat in my reading chair but his jeans were pretty damn nice today and I could see that even through the darkness. I decided to let the chair thing slide, like I usually did with him.

“Why don’t you want to go?” He asked me, putting his “I’m all ears” face on.

I climbed back into my bed. No sense in wasting the warmth of my comforter.

“I’m sorry, what?” I asked. He rolled his eyes. I always used that line when I really did want to talk about something but was being a pest about it.

“I’m waiting.” He told me, getting comfortable in his chair. I put the pillow over my head. He and a few of his friends had decided they wanted to go out and see the world and find a quest of their own because we had been here longer than any of the other training groups and we still hadn’t been assigned a place to go. We wondered why they hadn’t sent us out but all they would tell us was to be patient. It was odd that we hadn’t been sent away to a job and we were getting impatient.

He gave it about thirty seconds and then got up and I assumed started walking to the door. I heard his hand grab the knob and I peeked out from under the pillow.

“Wait.” I told him.

He came back and this time sat down on the bed next to me and looked down at me.

“So? Care to enlighten me?”

“Ugh. I’ve already close to killed my parents by going here versus being the good kid and going to college. If this falls through they’ll do that annoying parent thing where they are all disappointed.”

“That’s not the real issue though, is it?” He said, scrunching up his eyebrows.

“I mean…” I braced myself for this explanation. I was glad he wasn’t the type to laugh. “I think your friends are cool and whatnot. However, I just don’t think this will be a good fit. Like they think I’m cool ‘cause I’m friends with you but I’ll be the odd one out. I know this sounds lame but I feel like it’ll be uncomfortable.”

As usual he didn’t laugh. He pondered the room for a moment. I waited in my somewhat patient manner and tried not to move around too much. I was restless.

He looked back at me, “I see what you mean. But let me tell you, you don’t give yourself enough credit. People like you a lot more than you know.”

I couldn’t look at him. I had always been awful with compliments.

“Okay, lets go,” I said and then didn’t move. “Its just kinda warm here and out there, not so much.” I gestured to the outdoors.

Tim looked peered down at me and I felt like he was trying to decide something. I looked away for a moment and next thing I knew his face was inches from mine and he kissed me.

“I’m pretty warm, too. Grab your stuff.”

“Okay.” I smiled because I knew this would be my greatest adventure yet. He started to get up and I said, “Hold on.” I sat up and grabbed his shirt and kissed him again.

He pulled back and looked at me with a smile, “Quit distracting me and get your stuff. I’ve gotta wake the others.”

He walked out, his Buckle jeans still as nice as ever, and I started packing.

It was time to move.

 

 

 

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