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Lessons in Clay

Isaiah 64:8 "Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand." (NIV)

Centring the clay is the first and most important step of creating your clay creation

I’ve branched out to try different forms of art recently and a local clay shop was holding pottery classes for only $10. The price was low because we didn’t get to keep the clay, but it was about practicing using the potter’s wheel. I was a little disappointed that I would not get to keep my clay creation because I just knew that I would make a masterpiece. Despite the fact that we would not get to keep the clay, my daughter and I decided to go because it was a great deal and a great afternoon out together.

We were given basic instruction and we watched the teacher give us the steps of how to create a beautiful pot which she formed in minutes. She demonstrated techniques and warned us not to be disappointed because 90% of people are not naturals when it comes to pottery. It can take a lot of practice. I figured that since I loved art so much, I probably would be a natural, but I was quite wrong. I struggled with the most basic part of creating my pot and that was centring the clay on the potter’s wheel.

You see you have to have the clay exactly in the middle or else your pot becomes lopsided and can easily fall apart. You end up coming into contact with one side of the pot harder than on the other side as the wheel turns. The wheel would turn and I would try to force it into the centre, but ended up making it worse. I tried so hard and even the teachers said that I looked frustrated and I was.

Some of our first creations are included here. Mine is the bottom right.

Despite my frustration in not making the perfect creation, this exercise gave me a better appreciation for God as our potter. God is the master creator and knows exactly what he is doing. We can try all we want to force ourselves to be the person that we want to be, but there may be struggles when we try to do these things on our own. Maybe we will have some success and things will turn out okay, but many times things can fall apart. If we give ourselves into God’s hands he can centre us and shape us into the beautiful people that we are intended to be.

One of the most profound parts of my pottery experience was that I really needed to let go. I learned some techniques and I needed to trust that, with the teacher’s guidance and teaching, I could create my pot. I actually closed my eyes and tried to stop myself from being so critical of my work. I didn’t get anything amazing, this was my first experience after all, but I centered my work and started to get it. We may need to let go of some of our well laid out plans and let God work through us to create the beautiful lives he intends for us. And if we are in God’s skilled hands, and we are centred, we may surprise ourselves to see what God can make as he works through us to create something amazing.

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