For the past couple of months, I’ve been taking a ceramics class at the Berkeley Potters’ Studio. Now, if you’re thinking, “Wow, what a perfectly hippie, Berkeley, middle-aged lady thing to do,” I have something to tell you: You’re totally right.
I mean, look at this place:
I think that in the above photo, there’s exactly one person with not-grey hair. The big guy standing in the distance is my teacher, Bob. He’s a bluegrass musician and professional potter who used to also be a firefighter in New Mexico. He’s awesome, and also maybe a little something of a stereotype.
Hippies or no, I adore this class. For three hours every Friday morning, I get to concentrate on a single project and get messier than I thought possible. It’s the highlight of my week, second only to going out to lunch after class wearing my clay-encrusted shoes, pants, sweatshirt, and hair with pride. (Plus, all the wheel-throwing of recycled stoneware clay really exfoliates my hands. )
For the first few weeks of the class, I was a professional pot-killer. First, I knocked my work over on the wheel. Next, I threw my bowls so thin that their bottoms cracked in the kiln. I overglazed them, creating razor-sharp waterfalls colored glass. I’ve ruined so many pots by now that I think I’m out of mistakes. Finally, I’m ready to make real stuff. First up: a set of cereal bowls for the mountain house.
Aren’t they… real-looking? All stacked up like this, the bowls make me happy. I plan to glaze them this weekend, which is a dicey proposition. Ceramic glaze, it turns out, looks nothing like the finished thing when applied, so you have to wait a week or two for pottery to be fired before seeing the finished results. The plan, though, it to recreate the white/teal combo in the pots above.
So, fingers crossed for my bowls, please. And 10 extra credit points for anyone who properly identifies the dorky ’80s reference in the title of this post.