• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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And In My Head I Paint a Picture

I took pottery lessons as a child. The teacher came around and put his hands over our hands to demonstrate how to center the clay.  It’s a very difficult thing to learn, especially for small hands. The wheel has to go around very fast in order to center the clay, but the speed also makes it very difficult to control. When the teacher came to my station, he linked his thumbs and flapped his hands like a bird.  See? Then he put his hands over mine and applied pressure. The clay immediately conformed. He took his hands away and the clay didn’t wobble. Right there in my own small hands, the clay was a perfect disc. I was able to center clay from that day forward. It wasn’t anything I ever had to think about.

What is this post about?

16 Responses

  1. Show dont tell?
    When the student is ready…?
    You’re a quick study?

  2. The lasting impression of those perfect lessons that give us the tools, and the understanding, to do it ourselves. Guiding, shaping. Motions not words.

  3. It’s about you got lucky kid. And nothing would ever go that well for the rest of your life. So, it’s a tragedy?

  4. I like what Martha said, so I’m going to copy her paper.

    “Show, don’t tell.”

  5. It’s about the “it” factor.
    Either you have it or you don’t.

  6. It’s about the creepy teacher who had a thing for touching little kids wet-with-clay hands.
    NO IT’S NOT !!
    Sorry. I was watching the news.

    I’m with Martha and Donna. And it is about sustaining the content of the lesson for a lifetime.

    Turned off TV.

  7. Shaping the direction of an artist then letting her feel her own way through it? Whatever it’s about it’s a lovely image in my head today.

  8. Birds?
    The past few days have been 10-20 degrees on the negative side of zero. It was up to 10 above this morning and I heard birds singing. Their voices had been quiet during the cold snap and I imagined them huddled in the shelter of snow covered soft wood trees. Now they were flitting through the air and singing away. I took the songs for granted until they were not there. They weren’t teaching me to fly, but a singing lesson was a possibility. Wherever they had come from, wherever they had been, their songs were a welcome gift.

  9. Thanks for a post which brought back memories from my own efforts to tame wet clay. In one class, we added facial features to all the lopsided lumps of non-centered clay, dubbing each “Sir Amiks”. The teacher was a character in his own right: a survivor of a horrific motorcycle accident, he kept his head shaved bald to better exhibit the scars from several brain/reconstructive surgeries. Haven’t thought about him, or that class in years, but from that class I honed the skill of patience and gained a deeper appreciation for the science which supports Art.

  10. that your body and mind are aligned when you throw a pot; that the spinning wheel is disarranges you into this alignment. that you allow that to happen by simply letting go.


  11. I think the post is a tabula rosa or maybe a koan, something that means what we want it to mean. To me, it is a reminder that I haven’t seen the piggy bank I made when I was 5 and I wonder what happened to it. It was completely imperfect and I loved it.

  12. This is about the generosity of teaching, the beauty of craft, of mentoring and mastery, of touch and connection. Literally, it is about hands helping hands.

  13. “What is this post about?”

    There are techniques that can be taught.
    Not everything that can be taught can be said.
    Showing is telling.
    A good teacher knows how to show and shows how.
    Without knowing the techniques, the creator cannot create.


  15. Aside from being about 140 words long, It could be about emulation. It could be about how impressive situations/environments skip right over the working memory and lodge themselves almost automatically into long-term memory. It could be about hearing the teacher in times of trouble, listening to the voice when one might step off the path, a little to the left or a little to the right. Coming to trust. Taking that trust and molding it into something greater than the small beginnings that many are wont to put down.

    Guiding hands, whether they be literal or figurative. Guiding hearts for something greater.

    One last several things…

    The teacher must risk the student falling (or failing (personally, I don’t believe in failing)), in order for the student to grow. In that growth, the teacher grows just that much more (through the pleasurable and not so pleasurable). I am fairly certain that there were others who probably didn’t get the the same lesson that was mentioned, here.

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