i’ve been taking a pottery class the last month or so. and it’s been so much fun. i’m not good, but i’m decent enough. and i have enough of a sense of humor to really enjoy the weird stuff i unintentionally create. (so many ashtrays!) plus i my teacher is really great and chill.
i was sick last saturday so i went in on monday night for a make-up class, which isn’t supposed to be a big deal. you slip in and find a wheel in the back corner and go about your business. people do it all the time. so i slipped in and found a wheel in the corner and i started to prep my stuff.
and then the teacher stopped teaching class and started giving me a hard time for being there. he announced that he had a full class and i needed to leave.
i don’t know what it was about me that rubbed him the wrong way, but there was another non-class member who came in the same time as me and set up a wheel and started throwing with no problems. i’d counted the number of people in the room and the number of wheels when i first got there and there were enough. so when he confronted me, i pushed back. i explained that i’d been sick on saturday, that i’d tried to come in the saturday before and waited an hour for some space to free up before i gave up and went home. i also offered that instead of throwing, if he’d just let me trim my two finished pieces, i’d be done by the time he finished his instructions to his class.
he begrudgingly agreed to let me trim my pieces. he made me move my stuff from one corner to another, which, you know, whatever. he also stopped his class to tell me that i shouldn’t put a trough on the wheel and i should just let the clay shavings spray everywhere.
i made this face...
...and then went about my business.
while i trimmed my pieces i listened to his instructions to his class. and -shocker- he was a total dick. he talked for an hour, made them take notes and refused to give any one-on-one help because he wanted them to work from their notes.
as soon as i finished trimming, i cleaned up my wheel and moved to a table where i could finish add some pieces. the class dispersed and everyone miraculously found a wheel. in fact, there were two wheels to spare.
the teacher came up and asked me what i working on. i thanked him for letting me trim my pieces and explained my project while self-deprecatingly adding, “i’m probably over-reaching.”
i feel like a good teacher would’ve helped by, oh i don’t know, teaching me, but what i got was, “um… ya. you’re gonna need a lot of slip. like a lot of slip.”
so i looked at him and said, “ok then.” and turned back to what i was doing. i finished up my trimming, went into the glazing room, googled “slip” on my phone, put some on my pot, and placed my finished piece on the firing shelf right as the teacher walked in.
“i wouldn’t do that if i were you”, said he.
sigh… “ok. what would you do if you were me?”
“i’d spray it the crap down and i’d leave it in a bag for a week before i set it out.”
“oh! because the pieces i added have a different consistency than the pot?”
“no. because the pieces you added have more water content than the pot.”
“... super. i’ll wrap this up until next saturday. thanks for the tip. do you have any more advice?”
and he just rolled his eyes and walked away.
so why am i blogging this instead of posting it on yelp?
because i walked out of the art center that night angrier at myself than the teacher. i was so mad that i let someone be such a jerk to me. what i thought would be a relaxing evening, wound up being stressful and demoralizing.
and i realized that it was in large part because i had revertigo-ed. i’d reverted into passive, college art student kat, the poor dummy who made it into an art program out of sheer luck and was really hard on herself for not innately knowing the things she was supposed to be taught in her classes.
i’d forgotten how hard it was for me. or, maybe it’s not that i’d forgotten, but i’d grown emotionally distant from it. i remember stuff about being an art student, but i didn’t remember the the feelings part of it. truthfully? i hated byu’s art program. because the teachers were mean (i got publicly shamed a lot) and they didn’t want to teach (when i went to them with a question, they were almost always more likely to roll their eyes at me then help me).
it was brutal.
it also created a weird dynamic among classmates. not the friendliest, most supportive of atmospheres. also, i’d totally forgotten what it was like to have an entire classroom of my peers stare at me while a teacher got after me.
so i’m letting myself off the hook for momentarily reverting into art school kat. and i’m letting the pottery dick off the hook for being bad at his job.
this time.but so help him, if i ever have to deal with him again.