This is just to remind everyone that we are finishing bowls this week and moving on to the final project. I thought everyone has been demonstrating significant advancement in skill and comfort with the clay (or at the least some hard lessons learned). So this new week begins our work on special individual projects. Not everyone has told me what they intend to do for the assignment, but if you still haven't figured it out we can come up with something on Monday, or you can decide it as you go. It can be specific or something loosely organised around a theme you are interested in or you can even change the plan over the next few weeks. I just want you to focus on the skills you are learning and bring them to new forms and new ideas. Above all I want you to have fun with it, so make something you are interested in. And always remember that any project is but a step along the process of your evolution as artists. You don't have to feel pressured to make something exact or in some way 'perfect'. Think of everything you make as merely practice or a sketch. The real point of the exercise (any exercise) is to learn, not the finished piece. You may feel more satisfaction if the pot comes off well, but if you have made it as a result of your growing skill level and not just because you got lucky this once, then you have what it takes to repeat that sucess, and to move on to even more satisfying results. Sometimes it is easy to lose sight of the massive amount of preparation that goes into the creation of something successful. There is always an entire history of endeavor that precedes any finished work, even your own. Sometimes you can forget where you had to come from to get where you are now. If you were a concert pianist you could only perform at Carnegie Hall because of the hard work you put in. You don't just jump straight into Lizst without hundreds of hours spent on 'chopsticks'. A runner doesn't run a marathon without hours and hours of training and preparation. Professional potters are only able to create their magic because they have thrown thousands of pounds of clay, made thousands of pots and labored for thousands of hours. So don't feel too disapointed if things you make don't always live up to those lofty standards. Even professionals had to make bad pots before they gained the experience necessary to move on to bigger and better things. It is my job to put you on that path and to help you continue in the right direction. We are fortunate that working with clay is both forgiving and intuitive. It is possible to make decent and very good pots at a very early stage of experience. If you are focused on learning then you are developing the tools to make anything you want. Imerse yourself in the process and find the joy in discovering new things to learn and do. Challenge yourself with new ideas and push the limits of your safe zone, not necessarily with the goal of a fabulous work of art as the end product, but with the aim of greater comprehension of the process and your abilities. Good luck and have some fun!