Did you ever have one of those days where you wake up feeling great with a plan and envision the awesome pieces you were going to make for the day? You have your cup (or 3) of coffee, eat a little breakfast, browse the local paper and excitedly head to your wheel.

After wedging a couple pounds of your favorite clay, you throw it down on the bat. Wetting your hands a little, you start the centering process. Here it is, the first frustrating moment of your perfect morning... you just can't seem to get a good center! Compressing it again, you start over... still not perfect but you figure it will work itself out when you open it and start a small pull. UGH! You just can’t get the wobble out.

At this point, you figure there is something wrong with this piece of clay so you start again with a new piece. It centers perfectly, the opening and first pull are great. You've just found a renewed sense of the vision you had earlier. All of a sudden, you get a high spot and a little wobble. No worries, using the needle tool, you trim off the high spot and use a little pressure to get the wobble out. Whew, that was close, your perfect piece almost got wonky on you!  All is well, until you reach for a sponge, and bump the pot.

Now you've got a dent to work out. After a bit of squeezing, pulling and crossing your toes (since your fingers are already busy), it's been saved again... or has it? Because you've used so much water and manipulated it over and over again, the walls are too wet and thin, the belly starts to sag and the lip flops over. Your perfect morning just went out the window!

At this point, you wonder if there's a way to save your pottery day. Here’s how.

Tips for getting back on track

* On the bright side, you're not alone. We all experience days that NOTHING goes as planned.

* Flip your piece, still on the bat, upside down over an open box. Once it's soft leather hard, add some "fun" to the pot by manipulating it into a funky shape... You'll be surprised how nice your "flop" turns out!

* Think technically. Why couldn't you get a good center in the first place? Was your clay wet enough? Does the bat have a warp in it? Were your expectations too high?

* Visit our blog for some great tips.

* Pick up a pottery magazine or book and look for some inspiration.

* Roll out a piece of clay and hand build something simple. This will give you tangible evidence that you are not a quitter!

* If all else fails, search the web for testimonials of potters all around the world that have had a "bad day."

Have you ever had a day like this? Let us know in the comments!

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