Thursday, December 8, 2011

Playing In The Mud

Georgia received the above pottery wheel for her birthday from Gordy's parents.  

I admit I'm not a huge fan of this type of craft project - any time you make a plastic version of a very complicated object, you find that things don't go according to plan.  I feared that this pottery wheel would eventually end up in the same corner of our storage room that already holds Georgia's child-sized, plastic singer sewing machine (that broke more often than it sewed) and the Grow-You-Own-Vegetables kit (that sprouted mold before it sprouted the carrots).  

But the quality of the plastic product was not the only thing I feared.  

Have you ever seen any one's pottery studio?  Have you ever seen what happens when you mix water and clay and then start spinning it in the open air of your room?  There is a reason people don't spin pottery bowls on a daily basis:  it's crazy messy ... and muddy ... and watery.  

In other words, I was thinking this was the perfect present to open and use in the Giver's own home - say on their bed or in their formal living room where the lesson about giving muddy, wet gifts could truly be learned and appreciated.  Sadly for me, that lesson would fall on deaf ears.  Gordy's mother (although a very neat person in her non-grandparent life) is up for all types of messes and is perfectly comfortable with any sort of dirty chaos as long as the grandchild in question is having a good time.  She once allowed Henry and Georgia to use the sprayer hose from the sink to flood her entire kitchen and didn't even ask them to stop as inch after inch of cold water covered her floor because " they were having so much fun."  This is a nice quality in a grandparent... unless they have delivered the mud-based present to YOUR house and then slipped quietly out the side door.

I may have been apprehensive about the pottery wheel, but the birthday girl was thrilled beyond belief and really, that's what matters, isn't it?

She had always dreamed of making pottery jugs and bowls and couldn't believe her good fortune.

I spread newspaper on the floor and covered the table with a plastic cloth.  I would have covered Georgia in a plastic garbage bag and done this project outside in our driveway, but it is winter-time here in New England and by 4:00pm the sun had set and it was a little too freezing for out-door art projects.

We read the directions and I instructed Georgia to take things slowly.  The directions were not the best:  in fact, they stopped abruptly after teaching us how to put the wheel together and gave absolutely no help as to how we would actually make a pot using the wheel or any of the accompanying tools.

We had no choice but to wing it.

Luckily, after a few tries, Georgia got the hang of the whole spinning wheel / wet clay combination and she managed to make a very respectable clay pot - or pitcher, it was hard to tell.

As for me, I managed to keep my mouth shut about the large amounts of muddy water that were now splattered around my kitchen.  I channeled my inner-Grandma and did my best to laugh off the mess and appreciate the good time the girls were having.

This technique worked for about 30 seconds and then I ran and got my roll of paper towels and hollered "SLOW DOWN!"

After she had finished her pot, Georgia allowed Josie to have a turn:

But like a true older sister, she allowed Josie to use only a small amount of the precious clay.  

It was the thought that counted, in this case.

The clay pots have to dry for 24 hours before they can be painted and decorated.

Want to come give us a hug, Grandma? 

The pottery wheel was a success.  Georgia loved it and I managed to get through the project without having a mud-induced heart-attack.  Hooray for Grandma!


Lisa W. said...

My oldest has asked for one of these before, but I didn't get it because I dreaded the mess, too. After seeing this, I'm not sure if I feel guilty for not giving in to her creativity or really, really glad I never got it for her!! ;-)

Martha said...

Yes! The kid's pottery wheel is one of those gifts that when it appears on a Christmas list, I just move on to the next item! It wasn't a complete mess but I'd rather not do it again - ever! I was glad it only came with one lump of clay. There is probably a place one can go to buy more, but I won't bother to look in to it! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! Come back soon.

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