It was 4 years and eleven months ago that I walked into this community studio ready for my very first class. I purchased my first sponge, needle tool, wooden rib and trim tools, blind to how I would use them. I picked the wheel I wanted to use and I waited for the instructor to introduce herself. It was Sunday morning and I was ready to see how I felt about clay. At the moment, it was merely the hobby I was looking for to distract me from everything else happening in my life.
This morning, I walked to this now familiar space and greeted the friends I've made over nearly 5 years of Sundays. Our revolving class of engineers, professors, artists, hippies, students, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters and friends would gather and cheers each other on through various clay milestones. But it was more than that. We formed our own Sunday family, sharing beyond clay and forming ties that bound us together. Members come and go, but the energy and the personality of that Sunday class has always remained the same. And it has meant as much to me as the hobby itself.
Today was a new day in the studio. I walked in to the studio and instead of turning left toward the wheels where my friends were setting up - I turned right to head to my own studio space. I listened to their laughter and chatter as I stepped behind the tartan curtain hiding my space. They were just 15 feet away from me, but I missed them as if I was in another city. I pondered what it is about change that always gives me anxiety. I guess its that no matter how good what you're moving on to is...you can't pretend you aren't saying goodbye to something in order to make that change happen. And that's the part I loathe. Saying goodbye. Even when goodbye isn't truly...goodbye. Before I could go too far down that rabbit hole, friendly faces began appearing around the curtain with big grins and upraised eyebrows. Perhaps they were my karmic reminder that I was feeling unnecessarily melancholic about a pretty exciting moment.
I was sitting in my new space. Adjusting my new (to me) wheel. Fixing my brake pedal. Setting up for my first day throwing in a space I can call my own. After a cup of coffee with my potter pals, I realized that this wasn't as much a change as it was the next step. The logical next step. And more importantly, I wasn't losing my Sunday morning class...I was gaining more time to work independently and challenge myself with my craft. I acclimated to the benefits of private studio space. Uninterrupted focus. The rhythmic gentle hum of the wheel calming any nerves the week may have frayed. Did I mention focus?
After jumping up several times to go talk with my friends on the other side of the studio, I settled down and slapped a big ball of wedged clay down on my wheel head. This would be our first dance together. And as you would with a new dance partner, I found myself adjust to subtle differences in this wheel. Its height, the wheel head speed, the sound of the motor and how the wheel responded to any weight I applied to it. Within a few minutes, we were in sync and we were creating.
Ninety minutes later and a bag of clay gone, I realized that I'm settling in to my new space just fine.
Some changes are very, very good.