This past weekend, I visited a friend that lives in Sonoma County. As a fun day activity, I had the pleasure of visiting one of their favorite places; a pottery studio. It was located in the most tranquil property. The weather was nice and crisp, the trees had autumn colors and it was a perfect day to “throw some clay.” (whoa, that rhymes)
I took pottery in high school as an elective and absolutely loved it. This experience was both nostalgic and introductory given that it had been more than a decade since I last had my hands in clay.
I struggled through the process of centering the clay on the wheel but with my friend’s coaching, I was able to make use of my buried yet implicit pottery skills to make a bowl.
While working on my bowl, I noticed a shift in my attention span. I would describe it as highly intuitive where all I could see (and literally feel) was the bowl. I was highly engaged with the placement of my hands and the amount of pressure on the clay as the wheel spun quickly.
I wish I could say that I was happy with my end result, but I would be lying. “I wish I would have made the walls higher. I could have chosen a different shape.” These were the thoughts going through my head as I criticized my own creation.
“Wow! That’s pretty darn good for not throwing clay since high school,” said my friend as they stared at my finished product. I looked at it again and reflected on the time and space in between this bowl and the last piece I created my senior year. I am definitely not the same person I was then. Somehow though, I was able to surface the skills from my past and create something new.
“Yeah, I guess you’re right. Thanks!” -Me
According to an article in The Guardian titled, Throws of passion: how pottery became a refuge from our hyperconnected times, pottery “gyms”, referring to a paid membership type, have recently grown in popularity. People interviewed in the article described pottery as “meditative” and empowering; giving the artist full control while living in a world in which most environments consist of forced collaborations or uncontrollable situations. With throwing, you are the boss. You are a one person show and every single one of your moves has a purpose. It’s a good way to disconnect from your phone too! Do you see my hands in the picture? There was no way I was touching my phone in the condition they were in.
Highly inspired by my recent experience, I researched locations in the Upland area that offer clay throwing. The Clay Yard in Ontario, offers a supportive environment for beginners and experienced clay throwers alike. They also offer a discounted college student membership rate!
The American Museum of Ceramic Art, also knows as AMOCA, in Pomona also has a ceramic studio and they offer memberships for experienced artist that are comfortable working independently. They also offer beginner class packages for adults, teens, and kids.
Clay throwing was a great way to spend my Saturday afternoon and I cannot wait to get my hands on some clay again.
Can I fit a clay wheel in my office?! Probably not.
Areas of Wellness: Intellectual, Social, Environmental, Emotional