The Moore American

April 23, 2013

Life can surprise you, if you can let the potter take control

By Wanda Billbe
The Moore American

MOORE — The Arts Festival was held outdoors under a scorching sun. Booths had been set up for artists to share their talents with “at-risk” teens.

Taking shelter from the sun, two teens slipped into a pottery booth. They sat down at the wheel and looked at the lump of clay.

“This looks like me — a worthless piece of dirt,” the boy said.

“Well if anyone thinks I can make something out of this — they’re nuts,” the young girl said.

In walked an overweight, elderly woman who was clearly overcome with heat. She sat down on a little stool and waited a few minutes before speaking.

“Bet I can help you make this into a beautiful work of art if you’ll let me,” she said after expelling a huge breath.

The boy was the first to respond. “What are you betting — even though we both know it ain’t gonna happen?”

“Don’t be too sure, my friend, but I’m so hot and thirsty and would love a cold soda, but the tent for refreshments is up that large hill over there.” The woman pointed to a tent about 200 yards away. “If I help you, then you get me a soda and we’ll call it even.”

“Give it your best shot,” the girl quipped. “Everyone says I’m a failure, I might as well hear it from you, too.”

“We’ll start with him. Then you’ll see how easy it can be to work with clay. The trick is to let me guide you. Relax your hands. Together, we can make something worth keeping.”

The boy snorted but, surprisingly, let her take control. Within minutes a vase took shape and the wheel stopped.

“Here, let me take it off and we’ll set it on the counter to dry. You can pick it up in a few hours.”

With deft hands, the elderly woman lifted the vase and smoothed out a few rough edges.

“I made that?” he squeaked, totally amazed that he could make something worthwhile.

“You sure did. All you needed was someone to guide you. Now, young lady, it’s your turn and then off you both go to fetch me a cold soda.”

Excited fingers itched to touch the clay.

“I want to make one with a long neck, like the pink one over there.” The girl said as the woman guided her hands.

“That’s one of my favorites and it’s very easy to make. You have a good eye for art,” the woman said.

“Dude, look at what I made,” the girl shouted when she finished. “It’s beautiful.”

“Told you both you could do it — now off you go to fetch my soda.”

They brought back two sodas and watched as the elderly woman made another vase. A few hours later they came back to get their pieces of art.

“Thanks, lady,” they said and surprised her with a hug. “You’re the first person to make us feel like we’re good for something in a long time.”

If you’re having a difficult time and nothing seems to be working out like you planned, let the potter take control and you’ll be surprised at what happens.