We walked in to the little store with shelves of white pottery, an empty canvas. The owner told us to pick a piece to paint. After skimming the mugs and bowls and wide variety of assorted birds, I choose a divided square plate.
She showed us all the paints and glazes. She told us if we wanted our piece to have a deeper more richer color, then we needed to paint three good coats over the entire thing. She said that especially of the pottery glazes. Three coats, make sure we paint three solid coats.
We used little wet round sponges to clean our pieces, to remove all the dust that had accumulated from sitting on the shelf waiting to be chosen. And then she said not to worry if a speck of dust remained and it got stuck in our paint or glaze as we painted. The kiln would take care of it. The kiln would burn it right up.
We choose our colors. I decided on a beautiful aqua pottery glaze. I looked at the little sample tile and remembered what the owner had said. Three solid coats. Put in the work. Three solid coats and it would look like that.
She brought me the bottle of paint and poured some into a little dixie cup. I thought she must have been mistaken because the glaze she brought me looked like a matte dusty rose color, nothing like the little sample tile. I put a little on my brush and started applying it to my square plate, the white clay sucking the blush paint right up. Again thinking she might have given me the wrong paint because this couldn’t possibly be right, I took a glance at the bottle in front of me. Robin’s Egg Aqua. It looked nothing like Robin’s Egg Aqua. But she must have given me the right paint. I had to trust that this dusty rose would turn into Robin’s Egg Aqua. I had to trust the owner. So I continued with my first coat.
As I turned over the plate I realized that a little of the glaze had gotten on the table beneath it. The owner said not to worry. It’s okay to make a mess. She would wipe it right off the table when we were done. I filled up my brush so it was dripping and saturated the corners of the plate, the outline of the square being left on the space under it.
The owner said not to fret if a stray bristle from our brush came off and lodged itself into the paint. The kiln would take care of it. The kiln would burn it right up.
I took the time and painted three solid coats. It was somewhat tedious. The porous pottery showing every brush stroke. The third coat not looking much different from the first, was it really making that much of a difference? It was matte and dull and not pretty and shiny like the little sample tile. But I knew there was more work to be done. And not my work. The work of the owner of the little shop. Work that only she could do.
With one final look at my plate I handed it over to the owner. She said in one week it would be ready. They would put on the final glaze and fire it in the kiln. When we returned to pick it up in one week it would look like a totally different piece of pottery.
Trusting that my work, the tediousness of life, the messes, the bristles, the matte dusty rose, the three coats in hope of a deeper and richer color on my empty canvas….will be transformed by my Owner into a totally different piece of beautiful and shiny pottery.
Lessons learned and encouragement received from a little trip to the paint your own pottery place.