Trying Out the Pottery Wheel

Taking a pottery class has been on my 'wish list' for almost two years! At one point, I even looked up a community class and its schedule... and never followed through, naturally.

I had a free afternoon on Sunday and a pottery wheel class sounded just perfect. I look around at some of the studios nearby, and found one out in Fairfax that offered a 'try it' class for $55! The class included a one hour class where you learn the very very basics of the wheel, and a follow on session so you can paint and fire your piece.

I arrived about 15 minutes early and so excited to get started.

The first thing I noticed about the studio: the class was small--only about six students and one teacher! It was a good mix of people, with ages ranging from 12 to 60, and pottery skills ranging quite drastically as well. As someone who has never taken an art class, you can probably guess which end of the spectrum I fall...

The class kicked off right away, as we got our clay and started trying to center it. Apparently, centering your clay  (pictured below)is the 'hardest' and most crucial step of the whole process! When your clay is perfectly centered, it appears almost still even though the wheel keeps spinning.

The teacher let us all try it out and then came around to help, errrr fix our mistakes.

We quickly moved to the next step, and started slowing forming a hole in the center of our clay, which we then worked to shape into a cup (most of us deviated a bit into a bowl or vase). I had two near-disasters when my nail caught the piece and basically created a nasty gash in the side. Again, teacher to the rescue!

The young man next to me--I think he was about 12 ish--was SO GOOD. He had taken a few hand mold pottery classes and it seemed to be his passion. He definitely put me to shame but it was so fun to see him totally absorbed in the activity.

We kept slowly working our clay, and the key word here is sloowwww. And eventually, when the walls of our pot/bowl/cup were thin-but-not-too-thin, we were ready! I couldn't believe that I actually made something that looked semi-decent.

The pottery studio offers a four week and eight week course, both of which are really tempting! The best part? Someone at the studio let me in on a secret: They had a Groupon which made the whole class come out to be only $30! I quickly purchased one on my phone, saving me over twenty dollars.

I want to see how often I can make it out to Fairfax, but I have a feeling I'll be returning to the studio soon. It's great because once you finish your course, you can have unlimited access to the studio and wheel, only having to pay for clay and a monthly membership fee. I'm really looking forward to painting my bowl and seeing how it turned out!! I definitely wasn't the best one there, but it was really fun

After the class was over, I stopped by my newest craving/obsession: Kung Fu Tea. They have a few locations in and around the DC area and I have tried at least three. Evan and I both get the Taro Milk Tea with bubbles (tapioca) and red bean, and this stuff is perfect in the summer. (PS--I made sure to check the caffeine in these drinks, and KFT only uses 100 ML of black tea per medium milk tea, so I felt safe ordering one)

My afternoon pick me up was just what I needed to get me through a 95 degree day, and I headed over to my parents house because we had some celebrating to do: It was my stepmom's birthday over the weekend and she requested an awesome feast at home, complete with lobster and a fresh pie! YUM.

I told you my dad is an amazing cook, so he took over in the kitchen, while I snacked on chips and guacamole, and provided moral support. To be fair, you actually do need some moral support when dealing with live lobsters :( poor things. They definitely tasted good though!

While my dad cooked, my stepmom, Nelly, and I retreated to the living room to read, relax, and work on a puzzle--it started pouring outside, so it felt nice and cozy to be inside on a rainy afternoon. In less than an hour, my dad had the table set with a birthday feast!

We had lobster, simply steamed and cooked with ginger, oil, salt, and pepper. Bok choy and oyster mushrooms, Chinese broccoli, and rice. It was basically a modern twist on asian lobster and man was it fresh and tasty.

The lobster was the clear winner of the meal (I mean, obviously), and everyone kept going back for seconds and thirds. The flavors of the meal all came together and complimented each other nicely. You know what's crazy? My dad didn't use a single recipe! He kind of just threw this all together based on a lobster dish that my grandparents make occasionally... I guess I come from a long line of really awesome chefs.

Nelly went above and beyond and made her own birthday 'cake'... we found a cool recipe for an almond flour, no-bake yogurt tart, which tasted just as lovely as it looked. It felt really decadent, but we didn't feel guilty eating seconds of this because it was made with non-dairy yogurt, berries, almond meal, maple syrup, and coconut. We joked that this could easily be justified as breakfast...

Dad and I picked out a small key lime tart from Whole Foods earlier that afternoon so we also had a small somethin' special for the birthday girl.

We ate until we were beyond stuffed and loved celebrating Nelly for the night!


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