Throwing and centering

“You center the clay by centering yourself.”
The Spirit of Clay, Robert Piepenburg
Inhale. Acknowledge the tension you’ve accumulated from a stressful day.  Let go of the breath. Let go of the tension.  Inhale. Make contact with the spinning clay. Lean in. Focus. Exhale. Center. 
Teardrop vessel.  Wheel thrown,
carved and soda fired.

Throwing take a series of slow and deliberate actions. Clay can’t be rushed. It doesn’t like being rushed. When you do something the clay doesn’t like, it’ll let you know. Usually in some catastrophic way.


Inhale. Open the clay. Exhale. slow down the wheel. Raise the wall. Feel the rhythm of the wheel. Visualize the shape. Focus.  Move slowly in rhythm with the clay. Check your energy. Stay centered. Be aware of yourself. 

When you approach the clay, slow and deliberate actions become automatic. Checking your energy also becomes automatic. If you approach the clay with anything other than calm, your rushed actions will cause a will cause the clay to become off centered and your pots may fail. 

Never at any point do you allow yourself to do anything that strays from being centered, purposeful, and deliberate. When you stop paying attention, your work will go awry. This is a habit the clay has taught me. In many ways this is what drew me to clay. In my youth, centeredness was something that I always valued, and centering myself was something that I did to an extent but not very well. The clay helped me to hone that. Now I check my energy during the day, ensuring that my actions are purposeful and deliberate. I watch, assess, and address what’s in front of me slowly and thoughtfully. 

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