during my pottery class i spend the better part of two hours trying to throw a tall vase. getting height on a piece is hard for me; it brings out all the weak parts of my throwing technique. when you pull something past the height of a mug, any wobble off center or inconsistency in the width of the walls becomes ever more apparent. i’ve been trying to throw tall pots all term to work on my techniques: centering the clay, making the opening, enforcing the floor, pulling even walls. i made my tallest piece tonight, a homely vase with little more going for than its height. i left it on the ware board while i cleaned up my space, re-wedged failed pieces. at the end of the class i went to move it to the drying shelf. i lifted the ware board and the piece fell right off and onto its side, collapsing to resemble a folded knit hat. my classmates gasped and offered words of comfort, my instructor said “but you worked so hard on it!” i’ve mostly learned to shrug my failures off during this class cycle, preferring quality pieces over quantity. i’ve learned what i’ve never learned about writing, to kill my darlings, to let go of a piece when it isn’t right, to focus on the craft and the process. i went into class with a headache and left pretty happy. i think i’m learning.