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Classes like these...

Clockwise from the bottom: Ysa's snake and pot, Taylor Swift bowls, Tea set
Actually, one bowl is Minecraft, and those are Minecraft blocks
Double handled teapot set by five year old Jazlyn

Classes like today make me so happy. At the last minute I panicked and fashioned together a weird cat/ animal as a project for the kids. It felt like last Friday's class was a little disjointed, and I wanted to be prepared. I showed the animal to Ysa and Sequoia, but they both wanted to go on the wheel. Later when Jazlyn dropped in, she not only wanted to get on the wheel, but also had a list of things to make: a teapot and two cups. (She's five.)

Ysa threw a pot on the wheel, and when I went to dip my hands in to check the thickness, she cried at me not to touch it. She wasn't upset, but I still felt bad. Then I realized that she was owning that little pot. Which is amazing. She didn't go back to the wheel, and spent the rest of the class fashioning a snake and carefully detailing the head and face.

I had decided last week that the next time Sequoia threw on the wheel, I was going to take the foot pedal away from her. Clay is very intuitive for her, but she likes to take her corners at 80mph. Which is terrifying. When I controlled the speed (which is always slower than she would prefer), she nailed it. And we took her bowls off the wheel before she mushed them back into a lump. She felt successful, and so did I.

Jazlyn came in a little later with her dad and was so excited to get back on the wheel. She first threw with me at Maker Faire in Balboa Park. We made her cups and "teapot," and then sat down to make the handles. She already knew she needed three handles. The first two she made were really thin and fragile, but the third was much better. So I suggested that we make a few more because that third one looked so good. And surprisingly enough, she agreed. When I walked away, she set about attaching two handles to each piece, which is quite honestly adorable.

It also makes me happy because I feel like I'm getting the hang of this. Knowing when to intervene and when to leave them alone has been a challenge. I'm pretty satisfied to let them explore on their own with minimal intervention, but occasionally I feel guilty that I'm not "teaching" them anything. It's a balance that I'm still learning, and that is fun in itself.

To end the class, Sequoia requested I play Taylor Swift (because it had been a Bowie mix). Of course that meant everyone had their pick of a song, and Ysa's request was for Michael Jackson. Thank goodness that kid has some taste! The other two girls were mesmerized by Thriller, and who is this Michael Jackson fellow? Check mate.