Louis Armstrong’s “Hello Dolly” vibrates throughout the room. I am in a state of complete tranquility. My hands are wet with clay. I can feel the soft, grainy texture between my fingertips, almost as if I have regressed back to my childhood, playing in the mud pit, throwing myself about in the clay without a care in the world.
This is the best part of my day: coming into the art room in the evening, spending hours completely engrossed in my own little world.
My apron is chalked with clay dust, my pink Vans have remnants of the clay that splatters around as I put my hands to work. What will I make today? I will let the clay decide.
Most often, I don’t begin throwing with much of a plan in mind. My best work has always come from just letting my hands and the clay move freely in a symbiotic relationship. All I need are my two most important instruments, my left and right hands.
I have created vessels of all types and many awkward shapes that cannot be identified. I love to bask in the relaxation that comes with being in the art room. I love the quiet environment, the freedom that I have to express myself in any way that I want.
The finished product is always the best part of the process. Knowing that I put everything I had into a piece of work really makes my creations important.
I get excited to see it come out of the kiln: fingers crossed that the glaze on the final product looks good! I always peer into the kiln, still hot from the firing, grinning from ear to ear, ready to see what I have created.
For some people, art is intimidating. Some people ask, “We’re at business school, why should I waste my time in the art room?” Consider this: When else do you have an excuse purposefully cover yourself in clay? When else do you have an opportunity to enter a world where there are only two actors: just you and the wheel?
Nothing else matters when you are throwing. For me, wheel throwing and ceramics is an escape. It is a place I can go to get away from all of the stress of college schoolwork, homesickness, and frustration.
Today, I will make a bowl. Today, I will find my escape.