In the words of Seinfeld’s George Costanza: “Yes. Significant shrinkage!”

9 03 2011

In early January I suggested to my friend Karen that we take a try-it class at a local clay studio. She agreed and two days later we found ourselves straddling potter’s wheels and giving it a whirl (literally) for just $35 each (including clay, two hours of instruction, firing and glazing). I had attempted the wheel way back in college. I was surprisingly bad at it and very disappointed because I tend to pick up most creative skills very quickly. Throwing pots on a wheel did not come easily to me back then.

Fast forward to January 2011: Jessica, our instructor, showed us how to center ourselves over the wheel and use proper techniques. It made all the difference.

I was quite proud of my first attempt. I surreptitiously added a “foot” to my bowl and silently declared that it could easily be included in any Pottery Barn catalog once it was fired and glazed. Karen’s bowl was lovely too even if she didn’t add a foot. Ah, grasshopper, have patience—you’ll get there.

When we said goodbye to our perfectly-formed creations, they were the size of cereal bowls. Jessica would later fire and glaze them in the studio’s signature blue color. She told us that we could pick them up in about a month.

Six weeks later, I go to pick up our projects. I searched high and low on the shelves for my Pottery Barn-worthy cereal bowl with its lovely perfect foot. Since I didn’t immediately spot my creation, I turned over the pots to see if our names were scribbled into them, courtesy of Jessica. They were. I found my cereal bowl. It had shrunk considerably. I’m fairly certain that Jessica, who was a wonderful instructor, most likely mentioned that the pots would shrink, but I was way too enthralled with clay play to process that very fact. In my head I was dreaming of throwing a plethora of pots, fulfilling orders for organic, artistic inventory for Pottery Barn, even hiring studio assistants to defray the overwhelming workload—making money hand over…wheel!

I suppose I could still use it as a cereal bowl but I’d have to go back three times to get a breakfast’s worth of goods. I included the soup spoon for scale. Yes, it may be tiny, but isn’t it the loveliest shade of blue?

Behold—my first true creation on the potter’s wheel—a $35 hearing aid caddy!

Operators are standing by to take your order. Please add $40.00 for labor, shipping and handling. Please allow two months for delivery. Not available in stores. Call in the next five minutes and we’ll throw in the soup spoon, ab-so-lute-ly free!

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