Once again, aTi was a phenomenal experience. I simultaneously received enjoyment and frustration from breaking out of my "comfort zone;" excitement definitely won out though.
Deborah's course made me realize how many of today's consumers need to have appreciation for the process of artistic creation. It's very easy to go to big retailer and buy dishes, pots, mugs, and other clayware. However, when you buy things that way, you have the same pieces as thousands of others (makes me think of the houses in Edward Scissorhands) and, more importantly, you have a piece that was generated through mass production. "All Things Clay" made me more appreciative of the entire process of clay creation.
Although I consider myself to be a patient person, using the potter's wheel truly tested my patience. It was frustrating to go through the steps of mounding the clay, patting the clay, creating the bottom of the mug/dish/bowl, elongating the piece,...and then have the piece completely crumble. This was a valuable experience though. As adults, we often gravitate toward activities in which we know we will be skilled. Who would willingly try something at which she would struggle and/or possibly fail? I would say that, ultimately, I failed at the potter's wheel. However, whereas I normally (adult me) give up easily, I do feel compelled to try the wheel again in the future.
In terms of next year's aTi sessions (I'm already thinking ahead), I'm not sure what path I will take. Poetry, the familiar path, is one option. I would also gladly try "All Things Clay" again to see how much I could improve my skills. Songwriting fascinates me, but I literally have no singing skills. Digital photography also interests me. Foolishly, my mind thinks All you have to do is press your camera's silver button and be done with it. I know that photography is much more complicated than that.
Who knows what next year will bring, but I am grateful that I had the opportunity to participate in aTi 2013 at William Paterson University.
Although he is often the bearer of humor rather than wise words, I thought that the following Jerry Seinfeld quote was representative of my aTi experience:
"You have to motivate yourself with challenges. That's how you know you're still alive."