I believe that no matter how old I get I am never too old to learn. There are lessons in everything; every experience once we look for them. Stay with me as I share with you some lessons I have learnt from being on the potters wheel.
One of the first lessons I learnt on the wheel was that nothing happens before its time. This covers learning new pottery skills and learning to grow my business. I had to be patient when I first started and had no wheel, no studio and no kiln. Back then I was just discovering this new love and I was chomping to get a wheel so I wouldn’t have to make the 90 minutes drive back and forth to the UWI (The University of the West Indies St Augustine) Ceramics Studio.
It was frustrating and a drain on my physical and mental health but I couldn’t get a wheel until I made space for it; until I had a place to plug it in. It was only after the studio had a frame and a roof and door that the opportunity to own a wheel was presented to me. Everything has a time.
Blessed Beyond Measure
This brings me to lesson two. Pure kindness brings unexpected blessings. My first wheel and kiln were gifts. The wheel from Mrs. Gloria Harewood a former Trinidadian potter who just told me “I have a wheel. Come get it.” The kiln came to me through my dear mentor and friend Bunty O’Connor who put me forward when the international School wanted to get rid of their old kiln back in 2013. It is still functioning today.
I have been blessed to have support from so many in the starting of this clay journey. Kindness is not a currency for getting stuff. You receive the most when you are not looking for payment for your acts; when they come from a place of love.
This third lesson is a double whammy: Do not be afraid to fail and do not be afraid to say no. There are lessons even in the midst of failure. This lesson is a hard one especially for people who hate to fail at anything. I remember my first (dare I say major) order. I was asked to make some large pots. Instead of saying no as I should have because I had not thrown anything big before I took on the challenge.
I was getting off the ground then. Studio still had to be hooked up electrically and I had no wheel yet. I was using the wheel at the UWI. I did explain that to the customer and he was okay with it. When I did get wheel and kiln the whole electrical system would have to be redone to accommodate the kiln load. More delays.
Wrist and back were damaged then my knee went to hell while throwing the large pieces. Even though I kept in touch with him through emails, photos and social media, the order was cancelled and he made me look as though I had been scamming him.
I went into a state of depression and did not touch clay for months because I felt like a failure. Returning to the studio I shied away from large pieces. and I did not commit to orders until I was sure I could handle it. I try to keep in touch with customers almost to the point of obsession because I am so afraid of a repeat…
The wheel has taught me so many lessons. I will share a few more in my next post.
Comment below any lessons you have learnt lately.
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Wow! Greta! Thank you for being so transparent. Lesson number two was for me—the fear of failure holds us back in so many ways. Even when we bravely step forward, fear still stays close…..but as you say, there are lessons in failure..I look forward to reading more..
Thank you Kathy-Ann. The thing is that there is an opposite to fear and that is faith. This can help us push past the fear.