After a couple of hours, my shoulders were sore, I had clay spattered all through the inside legs of my pants, and I produced three slightly off-centered pieces that Molly has declared are destined to become ice cream bowls. "Because," she said, "you need big bowls for ice-cream."
I was just pleased to have produced something of size.
I remember almost nothing of what I learned about throwing a decade ago. This was good. I wasn’t at all disappointed about the gap in my memory, and without preconception and expectation, I left myself enough room to really see what Molly was doing as she was demonstrating. I just have a sense of things now, how different parts of the hand produce different effects, how subtle changes can make the difference between a smooth pull and muddy disaster. The strength of the entire body can be focused in a single knuckle. That idea is no different here than it is in kung fu.
Molly is ever so good to work with, too. She has a delight that she approaches all of it that is infectious. At one point, she came over and said that I could use more speed on the wheel. "Don’t be afraid of being out of control. It will come."
"Lack of control is an assumption at this point. To tell the truth, I just fear."
She laughed in a way that was entirely disarming and reassuring. "You fear? Peter, you’re in a pottery class. What’s the worst that could happen?"
It was exactly what I needed to hear, and judging from the smile she flashed before she went to check in on other folks, she knew. I don't think I could have asked for a better teacher.
I'm such a little kid sometimes.