This blog post is part of a new series called “A Tangible Challenge” where each month I take one in-person class related to something I know nothing about. The goal is to step outside my comfort zone and create something new. I am so excited to share this month’s endeavor: pottery.
I have a habit of, when starting a new job, doing a trial run before my first day. As silly as it sounds, in high school through college and even upon moving to New York City, before my first day at a new job, I would drive or take the subway to the office in the morning to see how long it would take and to make sure I knew where I was going.
That’s almost how I felt earlier this month, arriving to Happy Medium Art Cafe in the Two Bridges area of Lower Manhattan an hour early. I had woken up with the excited energy of, “trying something new today!” and arrived so early I ended up doing several loops before settling into a coffee shop to drink herbal tea and read a book.
Finally, I met my friend back at Happy Medium at 1:00 PM for our 2-hour Hand Building Pottery class that they describe as being “like table-top sculpting.” They provide a teacher who goes through a demonstration and introduces the different carving tools and techniques before giving us unlimited clay and freedom to create.
At the end of the afternoon, you register your art piece and select a glaze color. I don’t have my piece yet—it has to go through the whole kiln process—but in a few weeks, I’ll be able to go pick it up. One of the funniest things for me was the fact that when you’re done, you basically just leave.
I looked at my workspace with my tools and leftover clay and every part of me felt like I needed to help clean-up. (But really, what was I going to help with?) It is a funny feeling though, walking away like that. It really goes against every fiber of my being to not clean up a mess I’d made? More on that another time.
Back to the process. First, everyone at Happy Medium was fun, welcoming, and informative. It was such a great atmosphere to be in and so different than anything I’ve done recently. Second, I made a mug! I have no idea how it’ll look once it’s made it to the other side, but it was fascinating to think about all the little details that went into what is a fairly simple item that I use every day in my home.
Assuming I sealed everything correctly, this is either about to be my new go-to for tea in the morning, or a really unique vessel for holding pens and highlighters on my desk.
This was my first class in this “Tangible Challenge” series and a great introduction to trying new things. It was a thrill to know that there was no wrong answer and that whatever I made was going to be exactly right. I can’t wait to see how it turned out.