I don't know about you...but since I left undergrad it has been almost impossible to take a class just for the heck of it (ok..I actually needed those credits to graduate..). While I've learned a lot since those days, it just isn't the same. When I was in Sudan, I would spend hours dreaming of all the new things I would learn once I wasn't so isolated and had choices!
Well here I am again in the land of plenty choices and I'm slowly but steadily keeping my word to myself. In the fall, I took Spanish lessons to brush up my dying skills. Unfortunately that didn't work out so well. By the time I had class, my brain was so tired from a week of working, I just couldn't concentrate on the past prefect preterite conditional tense of a word! In additional, doing homework felt too much like...WORK!
Anyway, in place of Spanish, I'm now taking a ceramics class at this great place in the neighborhood of Capital Hill. Capital Hill Arts Workshop (CHAW) is mainly geared toward kids, but they have great adult classes in just about everything. My friend signed up for a digital photography class and I signed up for ceramics. It was a HUGE decision for me because it was a toss up with taking a textiles class at the major art school here in D.C. Due to the affordability of CHAW, at the end, it wasn't that great a decision.
I had taken ceramics during high school and even today, you can still find B the Early Years on the walls leading to the art studio at my school. I admit to being a little skeptic when I first started. It was clear that the right side of my brain was completely dead and it took a while to even get it awake let alone working! This week has been a much better experience and I have to say I'm loving it more and more. It's the PERFECT activity after endless hours staring in front of a computer screen.
I love the fact that it completely challenges me in a very new way. I have to learn to trust my hands and the feel of something beneath them, learn how to use my fingers to make a desired shape. It's also turning out to be a BIG lesson in patience...a virtue that I've never quite mastered. "Are you telling me that I won't be able to whip up a set of dishes at the end of this class?!?!" Nope, there are no short cuts. It takes lots of failure to learn how to do it right. Even if you have the technique down, the clay needs time to dry, time to burn in a kiln, more time to glaze, and still more time in the kiln before you even have a clue as to whether the imagine you had in your mind actually translated into something real or whether you will find something completely unexpected coming out. It is no wonder ceramics can cost a fortune!
It will be a few more weeks before I can reveal the fruits of my labor, but hold-fast I promise to share!
All pics of ceramics from Africa on Flickr.