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A little less than a happy high
What he went through at the studio last night
What he did in the studio last night.

I went to class in the midst of a mild crisis over a tepid reception a gift of the pitcher had received. The same old self-doubt, wrapped around wounds suffered at the hands of disinterested parents and uncaring peers. All the thoughts that helped me sabotage violin and voice, theater, team sports, and even my academic career, rattled in my head as I walked through the parks...

Maybe I’m just fooling myself in thinking that I’ll ever be any good at this.

What’s the point of pouring my self so deeply into something if no one notices?

If something means so much to me and so little to someone else, maybe I’m wrong for feeling the way I do?

(As a side note, I’m not attempting to lay blame or inspire guilt. It is simply reflective of the things that were in my head last night and of my emotional baggage. As I do this, I leave myself fairly vulnerable, so I need to understand where these feelings come from and develop a thicker skin. As much as I may hope, I have no right to expect a particular reaction from something I create.)

When So- came in we sat down and talked about what happened, how I reacted, and how I was feeling. She just looked at me and said, "Well you’re staying."

At about that point, Kim came over and asked what I was interested in seeing. I asked for pointers about throwing from the hump and what, exactly, you could do with hollow forms. As we talked about donuts, I caught sight of the photo of an ikebana arrangement in a really unusual vase and realized that I could make one much like it. That was a moment of epiphany. I spent weeks puzzling over how something like it could possibly be done and here it was. I have been initiated into the deeper mysteries. Everything else I had carried to class with me got shut out.

I spent a full three hours making one sake cup after another, looking for a shape that I was happy with and that I could reproduce. Some of my classmates started ribbing me encouragingly, saying things like "Well, look at Mr. 'This is only my second class' and his army of cups..." I think I ended up speaking to more of my classmates last night than I had since I started going to this studio. Something shifted radically. I moved into a space outside of my baseline low-grade depression into just being. I started laughing periodically out of sheer delight.

Once I met the wheel head, I threw another lump of clay on and made my first donut. It seemed so simple to create the form. Every step was guided by some sort of crazy energy that guided my hands and my mind. It wasn’t until I was nearly finished that I realized that my hands were shaking.

Coming out of class, I felt the same sort of fatigue and euphoria I used to feel coming out of kung fu.
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(Deleted comment)
komos From: komos Date: August 13th, 2003 12:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Like I said, no blame here. I know I over-reacted.

I'm just hoping to be able to drink homemade sangria from it at some point. ^_^
(Deleted comment)
komos From: komos Date: August 13th, 2003 09:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. I really appreciate it.
From: couplingchaos Date: August 13th, 2003 12:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
And she was just telling me yesterday how awesome it was to have something you made on display and as a gift.

She also took it as a hint to have you over for sangria.
komos From: komos Date: August 13th, 2003 09:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
I get the feeling I should just be quiet at this point. ;)

I should know better, but it's rough fighting off the self-doubt and second-guessing when it hits. It usually wrecks me, but I managed this time and thought I should write about it.
clayrobeson From: clayrobeson Date: August 13th, 2003 12:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
I know exactly where you're coming from with the overreactions. I constantly did the same thing when folks didn't come out to see shows and such...

But remember, you're doing this for the joy it brings YOU. If it HAPPENS to bring joy to someone else in the process, so much the better. But as long as you're getting what you need out of the creation process, then you've succeeded brilliantly when many have failed.

It's all about you, baby!
komos From: komos Date: August 13th, 2003 09:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sometimes it's hard keeping things in perspective. In order to engage in an artistic endeavor, you necessarily make yourself vulnerable. That can be very scary, and I've seen a lot of ways that people cope with it. Mine tends to be to hide again.

I think there's a balance between that reaction and the opposite extreme of falling to arrogance. I think I may have managed to reach it last night, and from the sound of things, you have an idea of it as well.
moonchylde From: moonchylde Date: August 13th, 2003 12:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
yay!! hope you don't mind me posting... the technocowboy had a link on his last post to this one...

SO thrilled to hear when people reach their creative center and find that happiness. I am a firm believer that everyone has an art, they just have to find it. I love art (in general, animation/drawing/illustrating in particular), and hate when people tell me things like, "Oh, I could never do that...." to which I simply reply, "Have you taken a class?"

I dub thee a fellow anti-brainwasher! Help me rid these people of the idea that they have 'no artistic skills' and point out that only prodigies tend to learn through osmosis. :)
komos From: komos Date: August 13th, 2003 09:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Not at all. I always enjoy visitors.

I stopped drawing when I was a kid. (There's a story behind that, too, but it's too long to share here. Perhaps there's a journal entry there for later.) I actually found pottery when I was a sophomore at university, but in spite of encouragement from the artist-in-residence, I let it go, convinced I didn't have 'the sight.'

I'm still not sure I do, but I don't know that it matters that much. For now, it's just something for me, and I think that's been the healthiest attitude I've approached anything with.
wisdom_seeker From: wisdom_seeker Date: August 13th, 2003 01:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Coming out of class, I felt the same sort of fatigue and euphoria I used to feel coming out of kung fu.

YAY!!! That is so wonderful to hear! :-)

Is what makes the clay donut special that it's hollow? Or, is it that it was thrown on the wheel? I'm trying to picture what you made in my head.
komos From: komos Date: August 13th, 2003 09:53 pm (UTC) (Link)

It's like a hula-hoop, only smaller

It's that it's thrown on the wheel and is hollow. Picture a circular tube in the shape of a ring.

You know... for kids!
wisdom_seeker From: wisdom_seeker Date: August 14th, 2003 09:51 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: It's like a hula-hoop, only smaller

Wow! That sounds really not easy to make! Cool :-)
komos From: komos Date: August 14th, 2003 11:14 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: It's like a hula-hoop, only smaller

You end up having to pull two walls instead of one, and once you have the height, it's just a matter of bringing those walls arcing together and sealing the form.

I think throwing one to exacting specifications would be difficult, but the base idea seemed pretty simple.
wisdom_seeker From: wisdom_seeker Date: August 15th, 2003 03:56 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: It's like a hula-hoop, only smaller

It really doesn't sound simple to me. How do you get the two sides to come together without collapsing in on itself? And what about the seam between the two sides? I really can't imagine trying to do it.
komos From: komos Date: August 15th, 2003 04:29 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: It's like a hula-hoop, only smaller

You leave the walls thick enough that they have some tensile strength, and the inner wall ends up folding outward to meet the outer. The seam is scored and worked into the form. I suspect that there is ultimately a ridge that forms on the inside of the hollow, but that's relatively minor.
schmi From: schmi Date: August 13th, 2003 01:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
It can be therapeutic too then, eh?
komos From: komos Date: August 13th, 2003 09:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I remembered that from a decade ago, too. It has an incredible grounding effect. Ultimately, though, I think that most anything that engages you as much as this does me ultimately has to be.
tarotchan From: tarotchan Date: August 13th, 2003 02:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
You have no idea how jealous I am of you. When I did Pottery I only had two pieces I threw manage to come out. The wheel and I are like mortal enemies. I wish I had more useful items to come out of the class rather than the slab work that I did all the time. Rock dude.
komos From: komos Date: August 13th, 2003 10:00 pm (UTC) (Link)


Time and practice are all that separate us, I'm sure. I'm fortunate in that I've had a couple of very good teachers. I also had that moment of instant understanding, where everything made sense through something else I already understood.

I used to really like slab work, too. I think if I end up needing a break from what I'm doing, I'll probably find my way back to it for a bit. I saw the most incredible tea set...
From: skygoodwill Date: August 13th, 2003 09:38 pm (UTC) (Link)

Sake sake sake

Perhaps like in the "Nut Cracker", your sake cups will transform into robot monkeys and wreak havoc on unsuspecting pottery creations. Staking out the joint, one at each window watching for the incoming sweaty human hands...Oh No! Or maybe, just maybe, they'll just be seduced by the ambience and spontaneously form a ballet troop, doing a monkey pyramid, and then, and then... acrobatics!!! Or perhaps, when that has been lost in the realm of satisfaction, they'll get handy and don costumes of their own making. One like a dinosaur, one like a man in a robe with a staff, one like a hefty panda bear, one like a wacky chicken with all the others going, "Hey I wanted to be that one!!". Then they cast a spotlight and act out their favourite hand movements/positions from their master.

Crazy monkeys!

Ok, fun's over.

Back to work.

mood: silly, creative, and kinda weird.
komos From: komos Date: August 13th, 2003 10:02 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Sake sake sake

You made me laugh. Thanks.

I can only hope I can reach the point where my pieces become living things, each with a personality all it's own and something to say. I want them to be joyful.
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