Tag Archives: clay

I’ve got 99 hobbies…

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AND PAINT YOUR OWN POTTERY IS ONE!

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Elissa is standing on the steps to the 2 train, in Park Slope. I try to hurry her but she is busy sending pictures of the tiny clay dragon she’s just painted to resemble the dragon from Game of Thrones. She reprimands me for rushing her, and giggles, “Isn’t THIS what hobby hoarding is all about? Getting excited about what you are about to do and excited about what you’ve accomplished?”

“Touche,” I laugh back. “You’re right.”

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I met Elissa a little under a year ago when I worked on a new television series for Investigation Discovery. After a few weeks there, Elissa had taken me under her wing. We tagged team stories for our new show, compiled research packets and booked interview guests. Around one month in, Elissa started to check out The Hobby Hoarder project. Then one day she told me she wanted to do a hobby–but a creative one, an artsy one, and so I promised her we could.

Four months later, it was my last day on the show–and we hadn’t yet hobbied! Upset with myself for not scheduling a hobby together before I left on my road trip, I promised her that when I got back–we could do that creative hobby she wanted to do.

A month ago, we met up for a television premiere of an episode of the series we worked on (Deadly Devotion), and I told her that I was coming up on hobby 100, but that we still needed to do our hobby! So we began brainstorming hobbies. Then she had an epiphany–she wanted our hobby to be the 99th hobby — and then joked that I should call the blog post “I’ve got 99 hobbies…”

I laughed. And then promised I would call the post, “I’ve got 99 hobbies.”

The following day, I Googled creative hobbies around the city, and found “Paint Your Own Pottery.” I sent Elissa links and dates we could do it. Finally, we were ready to do the hobby together that we planned so long ago.

 I crossed my fingers that nothing would interfere with our paint your own pottery outing, and except for a small hiccup in having to change the day to one day earlier–nothing interfered at all. Phew.

So just over a week ago, Elissa and I headed to the Painted Pot in Park Slope, Brooklyn for our adventure. Upon arriving at the store, we were immediately floored with all the options of what we could paint.

“Lanterns and kettles, and plates, OH MY,” I exclaimed in my head.

There were also mugs and cups and vases as well as bowls and platters. But that wasn’t it–there were piggy banks–and dragons and elephants–and wizards! The choices of what to paint were endless.

We were in a pottery paradise.

As I searched for the perfect piece of pottery to paint, I imagined directing a spoof of the film “Night at the Museum” called “Night at the Painted Pot,” where all the clay creatures come to life. (A girl can dream).

As Elissa looked through her options, I could see her getting more and more excited. “Should I do this one? Or this one?” And then she saw it–the dragon. “oooh, I could paint this little guy to look like the Game of Thrones Dragon” and before I knew it, she was making her pottery purchase and picking out all the colors she would need.

Then it was my turn. Stuck between a simple plate and a little animal friend–I splurged. I bought the plate and a little tiny elephant, picked out my colors, and quickly got to work. We only had an hour and a half of painting time before the store closed.

As we painted away, I watched Elissa carefully make sure to touch up all the white spots. I could tell that she  was really interested in what she was doing–and like my friends when we went skydiving this past week–it ignited even more excitement in me.

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Before we knew it, an hour and a half had passed–and we were doing the final touch ups on our pottery. Elissa’s dragon was a brilliant green and dark reddish/purple–while my elephant was a mix of baby and sky blue. I’ll be honest–my elephant could stand to see a better paint job–but Elissa’s dragon came out–preeeeetty stellar if I do say so.

The woman came by and told us to just leave our pottery on the table–that she would put it in the kiln over the next week and we could pick  it up after 7 days. Before leaving, I spontaneously started an impromptu photo shoot with our new clay friends.

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As I got a shot of the dragon, Elissa joked, “Yes–that’s the right angle,” first speaking to me–and then to her dragon, “Work the camera.”

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Sad to part with our animals (and my plate), we bid the tiny little lawn gnomes farewell and made our way for the door. Distracted, I began sending Elissa all the shots I had just taken of our statue pottery pieces.

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As the photos began to pop up on her iPhone, our walk slowed to a crawl. “They are so cute…They are the best…” Then she began sending the photos to friends to share what she had done–and how excited she was about what she had done.

And that’s when I tried to rush her–before fairly being reprimanded.

Some people have said that it seems like the project is about being a daredevil. But the truth is–the project is about trying ANYTHING and everything. LIFE is about having an open mind to anything you have the opportunity to try and a willingness to learn. It’s about understanding that even what seems like the most basic of activities/events/hobbies can offer some of the biggest life lessons. This year I’ve learned that, whether you are jumping out of an airplane, piloting an airplane, playing chess in the park with a stranger, building a birdhouse with your mom, or getting crafty with a friend, there will always be a takeaway. And there will ALWAYS be something to get excited about–whether it’s before, during, or after.

Paint your own pottery may not be skydiving–or hang gliding–or something that seems “adrenaline related,” but I can tell you that going to paint your own pottery–and trying it with someone else who also never had tried paint your own pottery before–was extremely eye opening.  

I had forgotten to take in the moment–to really appreciate what had just happened. Because hobbies have become somewhat of a habit (a healthy habit) for me, it’s easy for me to go from “hobby hoarder” mode back to “okay, get home, organize for tomorrow, and sleep” mode. But my outing with Elissa was a good reminder to embrace each and every minute leading up to WHATEVER we are doing, during whatever we are doing, and even the moments after we’ve completed what we are doing. Too often we rush to move on to the next thing–to get things done for whatever we’ve got going on for the next day–and to plan out our next event– but that’s not fair to the present moment–and it’s not fair to ourselves.

Here’s to trying new things–and continuing to get excited about them.  AND here’s to trying new things with good people–and watching them get excited too.

Tomorrow may be hobby 100, but I’m going to breathe in hobby 99 a little longer, because:

“I’ve got 99 hobbies and paint your own pottery is one.” 

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Painted Pot
Park Slope, Brooklyn
$8 Studio Time + Cost of the object

Breaking the Mold: Pottery

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clay

You might recall from my welding experience that I’ve never been good at working with my hands. So when my friend kept mentioning pottery–I kept putting it off. I was nervous that I’d get to class and be unable to “mold” my clay into much more than something that looked like an extremely flattened gumby. But alas, on Thursday night I headed over to my friend Lisa’s pottery shop called Mud, Sweat & Tears to give it a try.

As Sybil Bruncheon–our host–who kept it light and funny–explained all the different types of projects we could make, I stared in awe. I watched as she pulled out a pot–a candy dish–and a mug. The right side of my brain started churning. ‘Well I could always use another coffee mug…but that doesn’t seem very unique,’ I thought to myself.

Then I thought, ‘Well maybe I could make the coffee mug and then write The Hobby Hoarder on it…”

‘Boring.’ And then it hit me. ‘Scrabble pieces.’

Having last played scrabble back in August, I was having trouble imagining the best way to do it. I started rolling out a Gumby, until Sybil stopped me to ask me what i had in mind. When I explained it to her, she immediately began to help me start moving in the right direction–and in less than an hour, I was pasting the last R onto the back of the scrabble tray. My hands, full of clay, swung up into the air with joy. “This was awesome,” I exclaimed as I shot multiple photos of my project–for my made-up version of show and tell at work the next day.

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As I arrived at work the following morning, I immediately began to show off my project:

“I love the scrabble pieces I made last night! Did you see the photo I put on Facebook?” I say to my friend Pete, as I show whip out my iPhone to share my “pottery” art.

He looks at the photo and says, “That’s awesome!”

 “But I can’t wait until it’s fired and glazed–even though I won’t get to pick it up when it’s done, with the trip and everything.”

“I like it better like this,” he responds. “Think abut the metaphor you can use for it–when it’s in this molding stage. Look at how you’ve been molded through the hobby year.”

“GENIUS!,” I exclaim.

I wish I had come up with the “molding” metaphor myself.

I look at the photo of the clay scrabble pieces again.

I see the bent “O” in hobby and the scrunched up “D” in hoarder–and I laugh to myself. “It’s not perfect. Parts of it are a little awkward–there are some small flaws–small mistakes–moments where I probably could have scored a little more–or sludged on a little more water–But that’s okay. I’m pretty thrilled with the outcome. It’s novel and unique. It stands out–and I am proud of it.” Hmm. Sounds a lot like this year:

You see like working with clay–this hobby year has taken it’s metaphorical hands and rolled and molded me-however instead of using water/chalk– it’s pushed and kneaded me with happiness, passion and pride. It’s built me into a strong young woman with confidence–and a lack of fear. And it’s glazed me with a brightness that even my yellow sunglasses have trouble blocking out. The truth is that if someone put the hobby hoarder year into a kiln–and it for some reason exploded–it would only explode into a celebration of confetti–rather than a devastating disaster. And that’s pretty fantastic.

ThehobbyHoarderClay

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Like what I made? Looking to get crafty? Head over to Mud, Sweat & Tears Pottery on the northeast corner of 46th street and 10th Avenue for a good time. Thursday  nights are with Sybil Bruncheon–(who is absolutely hilarious) and Friday nights are with my good friend Lisa–Check – It – Out:

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