Ceramics Class

Elizabeth went to a wheel-thrown pottery class this summer, and I was really impressed with how good a piece can look even with very little experience. When I went back to pick up her finished things, they gave me a pamphlet about fall classes, and I noticed that they had a ten-session wheel-thrown pottery class for adults.

I had an unusual surge of interest in that idea, quickly followed by all my usual reactions to a surge of interest: new/scary thing, what if I hate it, it seems indulgent, maybe I should wait and see, it’s kind of a long drive, what if I have scheduling conflicts, how can one justify frivolous things in this time of worldwide crises and sweeping injustice not to mention college costs, etc. But I sensed in myself a rare mood of ability to overcome, so I went and got my credit card before I could lose that surge of interest.

As I clicked through the various links to get to the sign-up, I psyched myself up: It’s good to try new things! New things are good for aging brains! Maybe you’ll love it, and if you don’t, it’s okay! It’s okay to do things like this! I felt almost dazed: I was ACTUALLY SIGNING UP FOR IT!!! And EARLY—not at the last minute! And with so little agonizing! I thought maybe I would even ask a friend to do it with me, but I sensed in that idea an excuse to postpone registration, so I continued on: I could sign up and THEN mention it to a friend.

And the class was full. No waiting list. I feel deflated. I was doing it, I was actually DOING it!—and then it was not available. I can do it next session, but that is not comforting: I suspect I will NOT do it next session. It’s so rare for interest to merge with the ability to take action.

I considered trying a different class. I could learn basket-weaving. But there was no surge of interest. I could learn drawing/sketching. But eh. Painting? A slight feeling of interest, followed by total loss of same.

[Edited to add:] Okay, I checked further, and there is a one-session class that makes just one bowl or mug. I signed up for that. If I like it, I can take the full course next session.

[Edited a second time to add:]
I also sent an email to the art-class place, asking if by any chance there was a waiting list even though there was no waiting list mentioned. And I got an email back saying actually there was one place left in the class, and if I wanted it I should call this number. I went back to the website and tried to register that way, because I did not want to call, but it still said the class was full. So I clenched my teeth and made the phone call, and now I am in the class. I am in the class! My cheeks feel hot and my eyes feel wide. I realize there are people who decide on and get into a doctorate program with less fuss and angst, but we are who we are, and now we are someone who is full of fuss and angst AND ALSO enrolled in a pottery class!

45 thoughts on “Ceramics Class

  1. Ruby

    I live up the street from a dance studio, and last summer I realized they have adult classes. (I work for a school district, so the summer is the only time fo year that it makes sense for me to commit to something like that.) After a period of going back-and-forth about it, I decided to sign up for one–at the very least, it was so reasonably priced that I wouldn’t have felt TOO bad if I hated it and ended up quitting. But then I realized I have a time conflict for the only class that interested me. Well, darn. (This summer, the SAME THING happened.)

    If you can, I think you should sign up for the next session! Since it’s so far in advance, you might have time to find a friend or two to do it with you. I’ve found that doing something like that with a friend enhances both the experience of taking the class AND the friendship. If the class itself isn’t fun, you’ll have a friend there to make it fun! If it is fun, you’ll have someone to enjoy it with! And it gives you a great conversation topic for when you see each other outside of class!

    1. Ruby

      I just saw the edit, and I think doing the one-session class is an ideal solution. I hope you post about it!

  2. Shari

    I did pottery for several years, and LOVED it. There is a reason classes fill up! Put a reminder to sign up for next time and do it! The only reason I stopped is because of my kids’ schedules.

  3. Kay W.

    My husband does pottery and loves it. One unsolicited word of advice: he prefers hand building classes (exactly what it sounds like; you shape stuff by hand) rather than wheel ones. Getting the pots correct on the wheel is more difficult and a lot of wheel time tends to give him lower back pain. Best is a class that does both. Pottery is very relaxing!

    Also, wear old shoes—some shoe textures are really messed by clay.

  4. Maggie

    Oh YAY on update two! I vacillated so long on whether I could actually make myself sign up for a Bollywood dance class that I completely missed the window and it was full. I was partly disappointed and partly relieved. I am 48 years old and I really thought that by now I’d be in a place where I could just sign up for things that interest me without the anxiety fest of what if I don’t like it, what if I make a fool of myself, what if I have to miss a class, what if, what if, what if, but evidently not. Sigh. I’m so pleased you endured and made a phone call (ACK) and succeeded!

  5. Kirsty

    I’m so happy for you! And impressed by your determination!
    I have wanted to learn the tango for as long as I can remember (in my adult life I mean, but I’m old, so that’s a long time). I even live literally a 5-minute walk from a place that does appear to offer this type of class. But I’ve never signed up. Right now, it’s mainly because I can barely afford to buy food, so tango classes are a total no-no, but even when I had (a bit) more money, I never found the courage because I’m too worried that I’ll be hopeless (I was totally hopeless at flamenco, for example), or that I’ll hate it, or that no one will talk to me, or that people will talk to me, or that no one will dance with me… So many issues. So many hang-ups.
    So hearing you just going out there and DOING this makes my heart sing.
    Maybe, one day, I’ll sign up for tango lessons. I mean, it won’t be in the foreseeable future, that’s for sure, but maybe. One day.

  6. Surely

    Hooray, hooray, hooray!

    What a roller coaster. I was all hooray, disappointed sigh, hopeful intake of breath, disappointed sigh, hooray!

    I can’t wait to see your creations!

  7. Matti

    I was right on that emotional roller coaster with you! I’m so happy it all worked out and I can’t wait to see what you make!

    This Spring I started attending an actual writer’s group for actual writers and I felt exactly the same. Even though it was free it was for two hours in the evening each week, my husband would have to get dinner for all three kids all by himself! It would be full of strangers! I haven’t actually published anything! GAH. But it has turned out to be a highlight of my week! My husband has a rotating repertoire of dinners he can make and the kids will eat. I have friends there now. Still haven’t published anything, but my manuscript is much better, I’ve started two more, and can I’ve learned things!

  8. Squirrel Bait

    AHH! That’s so exciting! Even if you hate every single thing about it, you’ve already accomplished something huge just by signing up. And I bet it will be a super cool class!

  9. Jenine

    New stuff! Good wishes for using your brain in a new way.
    @Matti — that is an inspiring example for us all!

  10. Barbara

    Trying new things is always scary, but always worth the effort. I went to classes as a college student today. I am the oldest one in EVERY class. By a VERY LONG SHOT. We’re talking “old enough to literally have given birth to these people… after high school.” But I’m doing it, I’m there, and it’s not going to kill me. I think.

    1. Kim

      I did too! And I had the same thought – there people were not born when I first entered college.

      I’m actually still feeling anxious about having said something stupid, etc.

  11. Rachel

    Huzzah! That (with edits) was the best thing I read all day. You did it! You did the thing! As my husband and I proclaim whenever we actually get it together to leave the house, “WE ARE PEOPLE WHO DO THINGS!”

  12. Sarah

    I LOVE pottery classes. Be prepared to end up with some lumpy pieces that you will not know what to do with, but you will also surprise yourself with how nice some look. I haven’t taken a class in ages, and now I may have to Google to see if there are any near me.

  13. Gigi

    I stand in awe! I would have never even thought about signing up until I consulted a friend about joining me because I hate to go places where I don’t know anyone. But you’ve got me really thinking now. It’s GOOD to learn new things AND meet new people. To stretch your comfort zone. Now that you’ve led the way, maybe it’s time for me to follow along.

    1. Swistle Post author

      It helped TREMENDOUSLY that Elizabeth had taken a class there: some of my biggest stress points are driving somewhere new and navigating a new building, and I’ve got both of those done!

  14. Jessemy

    Yaaay! Way to persist. Now I need to send in my application for an internship that I am excited for/scared of!

  15. Jenny

    A couple of years ago, out of the blue, I joined a women’s community choir. I figured I didn’t have time and it was self-indulgent and no one would be nice to me and the music might be too hard. In fact it’s been the nicest thing I’ve done just for myself maybe ever. I love it.

  16. Alexicographer

    Congratulations! This is very exciting and I look forward to reading about your experiences, which I hope you will share.

  17. KP

    Yessss!! So glad you called and got in. I also have phone anxiety so I know how terrifying/ accomplished that feels.

  18. Shawna

    I haven’t done anything like this since I randomly signed up at my local college for a sculpture class which used different media for each project… only to find out my mother had also randomly signed up for the exact same course! And it’s the only course at this college that either of us had or has ever signed up for!

  19. Becky

    I’ve been waffling back and forth on taking a Photoshop course (not nearly as much fun as pottery – but will be useful in my current job). You inspired me – so I finally did it!

  20. Allison McCaskill

    I always say one of the best parts of blogging and reading blogs is when you discover that you’re so not alone in the things that make you feel freakishly different from everyone else. This was a banner example. And made for a great story arc too!

    1. Maureen

      I totally agree! I used to think I was the only person afraid to try new things-but now of course I know a lot of us have this same anxiety. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that being a newbie just means other people will be happy to help you out. I’ve found that people who are interested, passionate about things-love talking about and guiding those new to the subject.

  21. Laura

    Hooray! I took pottery classes a few years ago (wait, like 10 – 12 years ago – time flies) and it was so much fun. I still have the little dishes I made back then and it’s so nice to see them sitting there and know that I made them!

    This is reminding me how much I liked pottery. I should look into classes again.

  22. Maggie

    Yay! Unrelated, I walked by a piercing place in the mall a few weeks ago and thought “maybe I’ll get my upper ear pierced” but decided to keep walking that day. Then I went back and read your posts about your piercings and today I went back and did it!

      1. Maggie

        All of the options (of which there were MANY, ranging significantly in size and price) were flat back, so that was awesome. After agonizing for a few minutes I ended up selecting the entry level (translation – cheapest) option which was a small cubic zirconia thing. It looked very tiny in the display case, which was what I wanted, but looks less tiny in my ear. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter too much because I wear my hair down 99% of the time and it’s unlikely anyone will ever notice. I’m actually curious how long it will take my boyfriend to notice, as I only mentioned that I was thinking about it once and got it done while he was at work.

  23. Hil

    I hope you love it!! My girl teaches pottery & I assist sometimes, its so good for de-stressing and stuff. When I was learning to throw it did NOT help me de-stress, however, I got really frustrated because there was a big learning curve and I felt very bad at it. It’s one of those things I think where you just have to suck at it for awhile, but now I really enjoy it. I hope you have so much fun. Or at least don’t find it miserable

  24. Judith

    As I return to your site to see if a new post is up, I keep seeing the headline of this one and always have the bit from My Big Fat Greek Wedding in my head, where her cousin comes storming in and calls her love interest “Mr. Pottery class“, and tells her she is “so busted”.

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