I made a snail today. I made a snail out of clay. I am not a ceramist. Ceramics was my hardest class. But I saw this lump of clay sitting on Lynne's wheel and I said to myself, Wow, I see a conch shell, and then I said aloud: "No, I see a snail."
Lynne looked up from the shelf where she was searching for her bisque and asked me what I was talking about. I told her that I saw a snail in the lump of clay that we were going to use for a handle of a pot we were collaborating on together for the Paints & Pots show.
She picked it up and threw it at me. "Here you go." Then she sat down on her stool and put one of our bowls in front of her and started spinning the wheel. She applied the white porcelain bisque to the bowl with a paint brush, carefully covered the entire interior of the bowl. Staring at the spinning wheel made me dizzy so I returned my attention to the clay in my hands.
The image of the snail that I had envisioned in that lump of clay vanished the instant the cold, wet material hit my palms. I fumbled for my iphone and searched for a picture of a snail on Google. What did we do before Google when we needed to see a picture of a snail in a pinch?
I started kneading the clay, it was unyielding in my hands. Lynne noticed my apprehension and said, "You can try some water". Ok. I dipped my hand in the water and while it made the lump smoother, it wasn't really helping in the creation department. We started chatting.
We talked about her timeshare in Mexico and wanting to travel to Barcelona. We spoke about King Abdullah's death, and what it may mean for the Middle East. And in all the chatter, and after numerous attempts, and redo's, my hands finally seemed to connect with the clay in my hands. And lo and behold, by the time Lynne had finished applying black bisque to the second pot, my snail was ready to be fixed upon its lid.