Winter is over and couples are coming out of their long hibernation. Gone are the cold nights spent snuggled under a blanket watching Netflix and sipping hot chocolate. No, it’s time to spend time outside the nest making new memories.
Half the fun of a relationship is exploring the unknown. The idea that we are constantly learning new things about our partners and ourselves. With each new experience we have a unique opportunity to form new hobbies. That being said, have you ever considered a pottery lesson for date night?
You don’t have to be an expert. My boyfriend, Kurt, and I certainly weren’t. But, we took a chance, masked up and stepped through the doors of the Deming Park Torner Center for our first Date Night Pottery class.
Ceramics Instructor Hayley Bean greeted us with warm eyes and a calming voice. She had this unique ability to make every new student feel at peace, as if we were meant to be there. She certainly gave me the confidence to tackle the very intimidating potter’s wheel that beckoned in the corner. We took our positions behind the wheels and glued our eyes to Hayley, watching her every move.
Hayley carved a plump piece of clay from a crinkly bag set atop the counter in the middle of the room. Her eyes smiled as she smooshed the clump into the wheel. The wheel began to move beneath her as she pushed the clay down and forced it back up. Repeating the motion, she crafted a mountain of clay, then destroyed it with her tiny hands. Within minutes her shapeless pile was a smooth and hearty bowl. Okay, this looks easy enough, I thought to myself.
Kurt turned to me and said, “I think we can do this.” I smiled at his positivity. He was a bit skeptical of my date night idea but seemed to be taking it all in stride. It is just clay. How difficult could it be? Minutes later I found myself staring intently at my own gray clump. I took a deep breathe, wet my hands in the water bowl and went to work.
I used muscles in my forearms I didn’t even know existed, pushed the clay down, then forced it upward. Once I reached my desired height, I dug my thumbs into the top to begin sculpting what I hoped would turn into a bowl. The wet clay found its way underneath my fingernails. Frantically, I moved my hands in and around the clump, loose clay flying everywhere. “Hey, I think I’ve got it!” I yelled.
I turned to look at Kurt’s progress. And in that tiny second, all my hard work fell in on itself. A tragedy. He laughed and continued to work magic on his own wheel. For someone with absolutely no pottery experience, he made the act look effortless. He was able to throw two magnificent pieces, a bowl and a mug, all before I had even finished my own creation.
He smiled reassuringly at me as Hayley made her way over. She offered much needed tips and encouragement, and I got back to work. Something must have clicked because my hands and mind began to work as one. Suddenly, my clump was taking shape. My hands slipped around the clay as I applied pressure inside the clump. I was making a bowl. Kurt leaned down and marveled at my piece. Our fellow students craned their necks to get a view of my work. Positive accolades rained down between us. Compliment after compliment filled the room as we looked at each other’s pieces.
In that moment, I began taking mental pictures; Kurt smiling to himself as he began to master a craft he never imagined doing, the laughter between the couple seated next to us, our ceramics instructor who beamed watching her students. I listened intently to the couple as they considered where to place these new pieces in their home. Kurt and I discussed meals we could cook together, and simultaneously decided our bowls would be perfect for chili.
Before we knew it, our two-hour session was up. We left the Torner Center two bowls and two mugs richer, and with new memories. I looked up at Kurt and smiled, “We may have to invest in a pottery wheel.” He laughed and put his arm around me.
If you’re ready for a creative date that will force you out of your comfort zone, check out the Deming Pottery website or Facebook page for class prices and times. Who knows, you might just be a pottery prodigy.