Seaside platter (essay 1)

“I can’t finish it in time!” I told Mrs. Brunette as I walked away from her desk in frustration. No one was in the classroom, but what student would be on a Saturday morning? I had to finish my seaside platter before the Art Show, no matter what, even if that meant going to school on the weekend while my teacher decorated and finished up last minute planning for the Art Show. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed sculpting and creating different pieces with clay, the dirt and dust flying all over the place, making the room seem as if we never cleaned it, although we needed to sweep before we left class, but there’s something about having a deadline to finish something that you wanted the overall product to be perfect, that just didn’t mix well with me.

We had to enter three things into the Art Show, and I had two. I took my time in everything I put work into. Making this platter wasn’t easy, especially everyday before our hour and a half class ended, we needed to cover our clay piece with a damp towel. Not too wet or the clay would be too moist to do anything to it the next day, and if you didn’t put enough water on the towel, your piece could dry out and crack, which would cause complications, and wasting a whole school class on nothing. It seemed as if everyone had five or six pieces done and ready to enter into the show. Then there was me, sitting in the corner, sculpting tools, and paper towels scattered around the surface of the table, in my own world. There was always something in my way of finishing the platter in a timely manner. Whether it was because I wrapped it in towels that were too wet, or because maybe I just simply chose to make something that there was no fast way to do it.

The process of creating anything in pottery class, was sculpting it, putting it in the kiln, painting it, putting it in the kiln for a second time. A kiln is a very hot “oven” that went up to 2,400 degrees Fahrenheit. The kiln process took up to 24 hours, backing up the fact that everything in pottery was a tedious process, never mind the fact that when you stepped foot in the kiln room for a mere five seconds, your body would break out into a sweat. The idea in my head for my platter was tan, warm looking sand all over the lip and half of the platter, with a patch of large blue waves, footsteps walking along side the lip, and beautiful, colorful seashells splattered in every which direction. Mrs. Brunette said there was multiple different steps, in just sculpting my platter that would take some time, like making my own stamp, to create the footprint appearance, never mind all the steps after the sculpting process. I decided to take it on.

Two weeks of class went by, and I was still trying to make it perfect, which I should mention that it should only take 2 weeks at most, to create a finished product. I was sitting in class, the still malleable clay sitting in front of me. Every single grand of sand I put on my 14 inch platter had to be hand made with a needle. My hand felt as if it was my own personal sewing machine, taking on a small patch of the platter at a time. I would get cramps all throughout my hand and fingers, making it impossible to keep going, until I shook out my hand.  Who would have ever thought, making sand on clay would be this tedious? It was my third day working on the sand, sadly, I felt as if I would never finish. Maybe I chose too big of a mold to use, or a too time consuming project, in the short amount of time I had left before the Art Show was here. All these thought were running threw my head, I felt as if I was going to explode. I looked up, trying to put my eyes somewhere other than at my table. The air was hot around me. I saw another student’s work on the right of me, and it looked perfect, the expression on her face was as if she didn’t even try. I look to the left of me, where another student had ear buds in his ears, moving his head to the music. Sometimes they just took this class to take up a credit. I look back down at my platter, with frustration. Mrs. Brunette noticed. “Sarah you will be fine, you have plenty of time to finish, you dedicated too much of your time to let this platter go.” She was right, finally at the end of my third day putting the tiny little dots into the clay, I was done with the sand. Such a silly thing, but I felt as if I just accomplished something magnificent and huge in my life. The processes following this day was a piece of cake.

I was taking my finished product out of the kiln for the second time, and the smile on my face must have gone from ear to ear. It was beautiful, just was I was expecting. The color of the sand and shells, meshed perfectly, and the texture of the waves made it look like you were actually there, watching the waves crash down onto the sand itself. I was ecstatic. Entering my platter into the Art Show felt wonderful, I was confident I would win something. The day after the show, I came to find out I won first place in “Sculpture.” There were different categories the judges could judge you in. My hard work paid off, and it really showed. I am so happy I didn’t give up on my platter, and start something new that I could just throw together in a day, and enter into the Art Show. My dedication just proves, to never give up on something you want.

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