On Mentorship...

A year ago I spotted an adorable clay mug in a Fort Collins boutique. Shocked at the price tag, I decided to take a pottery class and make my own. I showed up for the first day of class and rolled my eyes as the instructor, Steve, meticulously spent the first hour teaching us how to roll out even slabs of clay and seal joints together properly.

"Let's get on to the wheel throwing," I thought impatiently. After all, I was here to make a mug that would soon be filled with cozy beverages sipped by a warm fire (never mind that I don't even have a fireplace). 

Next week's class, Steve shepherded us over to the wheel where he walked us through centering the clay, positioning our fingers correctly, and building up the sides of our pieces. I only half-listened, eagerly smushing my off-kilter ball of clay into an even more off-kilter vase/bowl/alien monstrosity. My clay flew off the wheel in a frustrated lump.

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Again I tried, again I ignored the instructor, again I made something unrecognizable to the naked eye. Steve attempted to reiterate the finer points of his earlier lecture, but I was convinced that I knew best and that my pottery techniques would work just as well as his.

Weeks later, at the end of class, I left with several small bowls, some art pieces, a plaque, but no mug. It was starting to look like I'd be drinking cozy beverages from a mason jar after all. 

I learned from that experience that it's okay to admit that you're not the best and that you really don't have all the answers. I could have humbled myself and learned how to throw a mug the right way, but I wanted to try it on my own and it didn't work out.

I'm a big proponent for learning from your blundering mistakes but I'm also an advocate for learning from mentors and experts that have put their time into their work. At Tandem, we design and film in a way that makes sense for us, but we're always learning new tips and tricks that make our work better, more cohesive and more effective.

So...don't be afraid to admit that even though you know a lot, you still don't know everything and it's okay to reach out and ask for help throwing that mug.