a peek inside the fishbowl

22 Jan, 2009

Pottery, creativity, and a slight course correction

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Easy ways to make kids happy|File under crafty|Misc. life

Family pottery class started last week. It’s a great class. The girls have taken pottery at this place before. The instructor is the best. He’s very supportive and encouraging. Sarah was thrilled to return, especially since I was going to be there as well.

I have to admit, it was tough. Creatively, technically … I felt like a bit of a dunce. First night was a little trying, second night I drew a total blank.

The class is 90 minutes long. You get some clay, use of some tools, a bit of instruction, and lots of time to experiment.  I have been at bit a loss.

For now it’s all hand-forming. I haven’t come up with anything really good, and by good I mean beautiful and useful.

We’re working up to the pottery wheel. When that time comes I’d really like to make a bowl with a spout like this one.)

So far I’ve made three small toadstool garden “stakes” (sort of like this) and a small white bird. That was the first class. The second class I mucked around, painted the things I made the week before and destroyed everything I started to make with a big squish of my fist.

Sarah just cranked it out. She made a half-dozen items her first week, none of which actually exploded in the kiln. I was so surprised and pleased with her creativity and excitement. She made things I wouldn’t dream of: clay glasses, a little clay “radio”, the list goes on and on. Emma did some neat stuff too. She made a fairy path for the garden and a planter with a big funny face on the front of it. (Don’t ask me where we’re going to put all these little things! Bridge.Cross.Later.)

Right now I’m gathering ideas so I don’t show up unprepared next week.

To tell you the truth, I really thought I would enjoy this class.

Something is amiss. I’ve been feeling empty, and need to fill myself up again. And to do this I think I need to engage in creative projects. And that’s the real point of this post.

I want to use this blog to document some of the creative projects we do around here. I used to do a lot of that. What happened?

I feel like me n’ the Fishbowl need a little freshening up, you know what I mean? I would love your input.

6 Responses to "Pottery, creativity, and a slight course correction"

1 | words words

January 22nd, 2009 at 9:06 am


It’s the time of year. Last night my wife and I sat up way too late discussing the same things you’re feeling. The conversation spiraled down until we dragged our depressed selves to bed.

We realized this morning we accomplished nothing. Shoulda picked up the needles and wool to finish my hat.

Winter seems like it should be a great time to learn something new. I find it a better time to work hard on what I already know.

2 | Chantal

January 22nd, 2009 at 9:48 am


My sister took a family pottery class with my niece and had the same experience. A child’s mind is so open to make anything. Adults think, I need something beautiful, or useful.

3 | Lala

January 22nd, 2009 at 11:11 am


I know you probably don’t listen to Hot 89.9 but they are running a game where they control someone’s life. It seems strange but they picked a person and they are making her do some things to get her out of her shell and make her more spontaneous and active in her life choices. Want to be a “life” coach? Maybe be you could put together a daily or weekly list of challenges for your readers to get them out of their rut and, in so doing, get out of yours. I suggest this because I admire what little I know of your lifestyle and because you were the first to comment on my self esteem troubles.

4 | Redheadedmama

January 22nd, 2009 at 5:00 pm


That’s so funny – I signed up for art classes too! Then they got cancelled and I wasn’t that sad because it saved me from having to buy all sorts of expensive supplies and from going out at night when I’m tired. Then I realized I being a baby and still wanted to do something creative so I signed up for a pastels class (pastels are cheap!). I wonder what it is about winter that makes you feel like you should be doing something more . . . this feeling is good though – it made me get back to volunteering.

Also funny how I find your website and blog inspiring (or on bad days, it makes me feel bad for not starting my own blog and I’m envious), but you are looking for a change. Guess the grass is always greener . . .

5 | Julie

January 22nd, 2009 at 5:10 pm


I started pottery class this year too. It was for adults, and so I was free to go right to the wheel. It’s really not that hard, and although I joined the class as more of an excuse to get out than a means to be creative, I found that it was good to step outside of my box too. Instead of trying to think of what to make, I decided ahead of time that I wanted to make big coffee mugs and all purpose bowls, and I’m just working on getting better at those two things. Although I made little soy sauce bowls too (for sushi), and they were fun. Don’t worry… adults are just more practical. Something will come to you.

6 | vanessa

January 23rd, 2009 at 8:20 am


I was very amused to find a ‘Cat Pottery ‘ leaflet in the Tourist Information office in Whistable during a visit to the Oyster Festival there. I haven’t attempted any since school but I remember enjoying it immensely especially the wheel , not that I produced anything particularly practical , I’m sure now I would have a different enthusiasm with food presentation in mind .I took a course in haute cuisine being a ‘can’t cook won’t cook’ type of person and found a creative outlet for food design .I discovered a ‘divertimenti ‘direction in colour coordinating my broad bean , green onion and green tomato stew. Back to Class is fun ! not just for self esteem but you never know how your experience may cross fertilise and who you may meet !

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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