The start of change, a terrible sense of direction, and my first pottery class

Pottery throwing

This year I have decided to focus on CHANGE.  Mix things up a bit.  Try something different.  When I moved back to Cardiff a few years ago and knew almost no-one I decided to stay in my comfort zone, which meant joining a local netball club to play the sport I had played since I was almost a dot.  I still love the sport but, as with anything competitive, it comes with its stresses.  Stress is now off my agenda.  I’ve already parted ways with a stressful job (ok, make that two stressful jobs, but more about that another day) and now I’m all about doing new things which bring me enjoyment, fun, and zero anxiety.  Well, that’s the plan.

Item #1 on the agenda: pottery.  I wouldn’t describe myself as enormously crafty, but an interest has certainly been sparked in that department recently and I’m keen to explore it.  If I put my mind to something, I can be surprisingly creative.  Earlier in the year I watched Monty Don’s Real Craft and found it fascinating, the pottery episode in particular.  So a few weeks back I got my big balls out and somewhat compulsively booked on an open course at the Cardiff School of Art and Design (check them out, they run some amazing ones).  Yesterday was the first class.  I gave myself half an hour to get there.  Plenty of time even in rush hour traffic.

My Dad has always been bitterly disappointed that his eldest daughter failed to inherit his sense of direction (he was probably a homing pigeon in a former life, whereas I must have been a magpie because I like shiny things and I annoy people).  But I looked the venue up on a map before I left and I was completely confident I did not need a satnav because it was seriously easy to find.  Note to self: NEVER BELIEVE THAT AGAIN.  I ended up going on and on up this busy road before concluding that the enormous university building definitely was not situated along it, and proceeded to take a right into a no-through road suitable only for miniature items (items excluding Vauxhall Corsas).  Attempting to manoeuvre myself back round probably took about 10 minutes and a 100 point turn (so by this time I was already late for the class), but what makes it that much worse is that I had a slight significant altercation with a miniature WALL in doing so.  Cue crunching noise, removed paintwork and a small dent.  Oh, and lots of stress.

When I finally rocked up at the flipping campus I just wanted to cry.  But tears were not going to create masterful pots of beauty, oh no.  So I located a hairy person from the student union to guide me through the building maze and I eventually reached my destination.

Attempting, and almost succeeding, to forget about my vehicle woes I threw myself into pottery throwing (ha), a thoroughly therapeutic activity.  My first pot went slightly wonky and thus became a strange jug, my second broke in half so became a large egg cup, and my third became an actual, if slightly uneven, pot.  It’s something that looks so easy, but requires real skill to do well.  I guess that’s why it’s a craft.  Our teacher was wonderful, if a little potty (oh stop) and I’m pretty excited to see how I progress over the course.  There’s a surprising amount of different elements involved with pottery, beyond throwing on the wheel, and I wonder which I’ll take to best.  I just hope my creations don’t blow up in the kiln.

Oh and friends, you all know what you’ll be getting for Christmas.


Get your craft on – and visit my new Etsy shop Suzi’s Crafty Buttons!

Crafty collage

I’ve been getting my craft on recently, having developed a little obsession with the humble button.  Long gone are the days of art teachers looking at my drawings with pity.  I can do button art now, suckers!  Useless with a pencil but a whiz with a button, and that’s fine by me.  Ok, so my little creations won’t win any design prizes, but I think they could make rather unique and personal gifts.

The subject of my longing for a more creative life will certainly feature in future posts, particularly the reasons why I quit being a lawyer.  Recently I felt that I needed to find ways to ignite the creative juices lying dormant somewhere inside me.  Buttons were my salvation (they weren’t really, that’s rather extreme).  They were, however, good fun to work with, especially after I was introduced to my new friend mod podge.  That’s why I’ve made button art a new hobby and opened up a little Etsy shop called Suzi’s Crafty Buttons!  I would love to know what you think.

Even if you feel like the most useless artist ever, which I honestly am (my sister was blessed with that gene), just try something new and see what happens.  Enjoying the creative process is much more important than having a perfect finished product.  To chuck in an oxymoron, go create your own beautiful mess!