Becoming a Potter

It’s funny how seeds that are planted decades ago have a way of persisting and sprouting.  January 1970, I tried to throw a pot.  “Someday, I’m going to do this.”


January 2015, forty-five years later, I started wheel-throwing classes at Mudworks.  Lots of things through out my life have come easy to me, and if they didn’t, well, then I just didn’t do them.  This certainly isn’t the easiest thing I’ve done, but I’m not giving up which is a relatively new thing for me.  In addition, to throwing nice pots, I think this wheel-throwing has even more to teach me.

Non-attachment, for example.  Even if you throw a pot that you like, there are still numerous other opportunities for its demise before it becomes a finished pot.  Cutting off of the wheel, drying to leather stage, trimming, bisque firing, glazing and final firing are all hazards the pot must survive.  In my short time of classes, I have already destroyed a good pot at each of those stages except bisque firing which I’m sure is coming soon.

Letting go of perfection for me is sometimes a problem, although I’ve been working on it for the past couple of years.  The clay we use in class is recycled and used again, so it makes it easy for me to toss a mistake into the recycle bin.  The problem is, as the instructor and the other students keep telling me, is that if I don’t save some pots, then I won’t have anything to use for practicing glazing.  Even with their imperfections, I’ve been keeping some pots.

Being in the moment and focusing my attention is a tough one for me.  When a pot is spinning, the slightest movement is exaggerated.  Countless potential pots have gone to the recycle bin because my attention wandered.  I’m working on it.


This is my first batch of pots.  I got lucky on some of the glazes, but I don’t have a clue how to do it again.  I’m resisting pointing out the problems with these pots, and hopefully in the future my pots will improve.  And maybe I will too.