There are so many things in life we dislike doing. Sometimes, they are the essential first step in an activity we love.
Today I had a win. I managed to knead an entire block of clay in one afternoon. I normally hate kneading clay because I don’t have the upper body strength. But there was no stopping me this time.
The trick? This morning I picked up a couple of pieces from the kiln shed. It was a little disconcerting to find some of them on the lower shelves which are usually reserved for the children’s pottery. Some of my earlier pinch pots were, to put it politely, child-like. No, it was not this apparent failure that spurred me on.
It was, instead, a piece from the glaze kiln – a slab-rolled bowl I made last year and finally bothered to glaze – plus two from the bisque kiln. These two pinch pots look very similar to two made earlier.
First, there is the delight that the pinch pot drills are paying dividends. I now have four pots very similar in size and shape that were made on different days. And on that tide of enthusiasm I mustered the energy to prepare another batch of clay.
Second, the slab-rolled bowls are very easy and usually work out OK. Including a couple of these in every bag of clay will help motivate me to tackle the next bag.
The trick, then, is to include the “known to succeed” formats alongside the training drills and experimental work. When one has a success to stare at on the shelf, the agony is easily ignored.
I wonder how my hands will feel tomorrow?