Scenes from a pottery studio.

There is a guy in my pottery class who sounds exactly like Michael Cera. He looks kind of like him, too, and talks in this quiet Michael Cera voice that makes it difficult for me to keep from saying things like, “Honest to blog?” to him. He makes beautiful scalloped bowls, but when you ask him about them, he can barely look you in the eye.

The people in these pottery classes seem to fall into two categories. There’s the type you kind of sort of expect. The person you imagined when I said I was taking a pottery class. The . . . Birkenstock wearing sort. But there’s another type, too, a more intense personality. There are more of these than you would expect. Michael Cera is not one of them.

Our instructor looks and sounds like Matthew Cuthbert. Except shorter. And on crutches. He’s had some surgery. He’s more the first type of pottery person (though he doesn’t wear Birkenstocks). This meant that the class was a little bit more laissez-faire than I had hoped for, though his gentle hands-on approach has meant that I do actually have bowls. Also, the ladies love him. When he was about to have his surgery a few weeks ago, many of his former students (all ladies) came in and swooned over him. It was simply astonishing. When he instructed us on glazing, it was unintentionally hilarious, both because he kept being distracted and because of the parade of ladies who kept visiting.

We had a guest instructor when Matthew Cuthbert was in recovery. He was the second, intense sort, and he reigned the class in and actually instructed. It was fascinating to watch the class dynamic change, to watch everyone sit down and pay attention. This round, there is a married couple in our class, just starting out. On Monday, she took his picture as he worked at the wheel. Those are the types of pictures I would love to have but that I never take. Out of a fear of being too dorky. I didn’t think she was dorky, though. I thought it was sweet. Perhaps the more experienced potters thought it was a bit much. But, honestly, they don’t seem the judging type.

Because our glazing instruction was so disjointed and hilarious, my coworker and I offered to come up with a glazing acronym for Matthew Cuthbert. Once we cleared up what an acronym was, he was all for it. On Monday, I told him I had it, and he would not rest until I gave it to him. I present to you my glazing acronym in all its glory. Before you get to the “glazing plan” part, you should know that Matthew Cuthbert mentioned having a glazing plan no fewer than 12 times.

CADENCE: for glazing

C: clean your piece
A: apply wax to the base of your piece
D: develop a glazing plan
E: excite the glaze (that means stir it)
N: now apply glaze
C: conform any errors
E: exsiccate, or let dry

I might possibly have used the thesaurus. I can’t disclose that one way or another. Regardless, Matthew Cuthbert was delighted with the glazing instructions. Especially “excite the glaze,” which is, of course, my favorite as well. The lady who just had a baby and the girl who made a toad house liked that line, too.

When I left on Monday, I said goodbye to the entire room. “Have a good week, Kari!” they said. Matthew Cuthbert was still holding my glazing instructions, and he waved them at me on my way out the door.

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3 Comments

  1. Aren’t you glad you stayed? 😉

    Posted 5/18/2010 at | Permalink
  2. I think taking a pottery class would be great. And I love your description of it!

    Posted 5/19/2010 at | Permalink
  3. These people need to be the inspiration for that novel you’re gonna write one day. And my favorite line is ‘now apply glaze’. NOW apply glaze.

    And for what it’s worth, I teared up picturing Matthew Cuthbert waving CADENCE as you left, with his crutches and everything.

    Posted 5/20/2010 at | Permalink

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