After struggling with bowls on the wheel in ceramics, today, I threw six of them, all roughly the same size, all from approximately 2 pounds of clay. While I won't say that I've mastered bowls, I now understand the process.
Up until now, much of what I threw on the wheel I obtained as a result of some beginning knowledge and happy accident along with lots and lots of practice.
Today, I was able to understand why the insides of my bowls had a step off instead of a smooth curve and why, because of that, so many of my bowls collapsed under their own weight before I could complete them. Now, my goal is to get the feel of shaping the inside curve in my hands so I can reliably repeat what I've done.
An interaction of craft and serendipity.
I don't want everything I make to be exactly symmetrical and exactly the same. That would feel artificial. What I do want is to marry the artfully interesting to the process of craft to create something that is clearly deliberate and clearly my own vision.
I think any art form follows a similar path. I see this evolution in my writing. After 6+ novels, dozens of short stories, hundreds of poems, pages and pages of critique, I am starting to understand not only if something isn't working , but why.
Stay tuned for photos of those bowls. They need to be trimmed, fired, glazed, and fired again--so from clay mass to finished bowl in about 3 weeks.