Easy as "Pyramid Pot"
A bit of vocab before we begin our tale:
To throw--The process of creating a piece of pottery.
To bisque fire--The process of heating up a wet piece of clay at very high temperatures to make it hard and ready for glazing or painting.
She watched the lump of clay go around and around, hypnotized by it. She whispered to the clay, “Please become a Qasalan Tea Pot. Oh, please, become a Qasalan Tea Pot. I will give you a nice red-brown body and a lovely gold lid. Just please work with me and be a Qasalan Tea Pot.”
The sound of her own name almost made her fall backward off her stool. “Yes, Lady Osiri?”
“You won’t get much work done by just looking at the clay, dear.” Lady Osiri put on her apron, crusty and stiff with clay, and sat at her own wheel. It was amazing that such an elegant Aisha would wear that filthy thing, but she did, whenever she wasn’t selling her pottery at the front of the store, day after day. Lady Osiri threw her lump of clay down and gave the wheel a few kicks to get it spinning as she gracefully dipped a hand into a bucket next to her and splashed water over her project.
The young Yellow Kacheek apprentice loved to watch her master work. Lady Osiri brought the clay up and down a few times to remove air bubbles and to get the clay centered on the wheel. Dee had even seen Lady Osiri yawn a couple times during this process. Centering the clay was necessary for each project, but after all the years she had spent throwing pottery, it was still hard for Dee to do with ease.
“My dear, that is much too wide at the top,” Lady Osiri told Dee when she looked up from her work. “That is a bowl if I’ve ever seen one. See if you can’t make it behave and become a tea pot.”
Dee muttered at the willful bowl and slopped more water onto it before trying to make the top narrower. She watched the excess water spin off the sides of the wheel and into the basin around the side. When she was done throwing, she always had sloppy mess of wet clay and dirty water. She didn’t understand how Lady Osiri could use only a cloth to clean her basin of all the water and clay.
“Lady Osiri,” she had asked once. “Why do I make such a big mess? It’s a pain to clean up afterward.” She was attempting to wipe her hands, slippery with clay, onto the sides of her basin.
“In time,” Lady Osiri had responded, “you will learn to throw with only what water and clay you need. Now, get back to work on your urn.”
Dee had mastered the Osiris Urn, as well as the Spouted Urn (though she could never figure out why an urn would need a spout), and five different kinds of vases. But this Qasalan Tea Pot was giving her loads of trouble. Her side of the tent was filled with failed attempts at the round tea pot’s body and even more failed attempts at its lid. After a while, she had stopped firing her failures, even to try to see what she had done wrong. Dee could not figure out what made the shape of the Qasalan Tea Pot so hard to duplicate, but every lump of clay she tried to form turned into anything else. Often her pieces were beautiful, but none of them were what she wanted. She destroyed them all before they even came off the wheel.
The next morning, Dee woke to find herself slumped over her wheel, the side of her face buried in three pounds of half-formed clay. Lady Osiri was at her side, shaking her awake.
“Dear, wake up. Are you all right?” Lady Osiri’s concerned face filled Dee’s view.
“Qasalan Tea Pot,” Dee said, lifting her head and smacking the clay in front of her with both paws. The clay had now lost its moisture and softness after being left out all night, and it hurt Dee’s paws to slap at it, but she did it anyway.
Lady Osiri twittered a little, even though she tried to hide it by clearing her throat. “Dee, what was the very first thing you learned to throw?”
“A Pyramid Pot,” Dee responded, prying the hardened clay from her wheel.
“Throw one for me.”
“A Pyramid Pot?” Dee had thrown hundreds, maybe thousands of them in her lifetime. “Why?” All a Pyramid Pot consisted of was throwing a cylindrical vase and flattening it so there were three sides. You didn’t even need to glaze Pyramid Pots. They were as brown as real pyramids.
“Just do. It might be fun.”
Dee grabbed the smallest hunk of clay she had used in a long time and threw it onto her wheel. She didn’t even think about what her paws were doing as she threw the Pyramid Pot. She didn’t need to. Instead, she looked around at all the pots lining the shelves of the workshop, waiting to be taken to the front of the shop and sold. There were urns, vases, bowls, pots, and plates in every size, shape, color, and design Dee could think of.
She hoped one day, if she ever learned how to throw a Qasalan Tea Pot, she would be as talented a potter as Lady Osiri and own her own pottery tent. Or maybe even join Lady Osiri’s business. Dee and Osiris Pottery. It had a certain ring to it.
Her eyes moved down the line, piece by piece, admiring her master’s handiwork. The pleasant, loose curves of a Fiery Jug, the shapely elegance of a Korbat Motif Vase, the sharper lines and fine detail of an Eye Motif Vase, the pleasing plumpness of a Qasalan--.
Her paws were feeling how thin the pot on the wheel had gotten and telling her it was the perfect time to take it off. She looked down.
“I threw a Qasalan Tea Pot!” she shrieked. Lady Osiri came rushing in from the front. “Lady Osiri, I made a Qasalan Tea Pot!”
“Now there is a fine piece of pottery,” Lady Osiri said with a nod. “It will be lightweight and functional when it’s been bisque fired.”
“Thank you.” Dee was beaming. She felt like running circles and jumping around the tent. But, as an apprentice to the famous Lady Osiri, she sat still with only her huge grin to show her pride.
“But I only asked for a Pyramid Pot,” Lady Osiri reminded her.
Dee’s smile faded. “Can’t I do anything right?!” With a sob rising in her throat, she raised her paw to ruin her beautiful piece of art.
Lady Osiri caught her paw. “I was joking. I knew if you relaxed and stopped being so hard on yourself that you could make this tea pot. So don’t start being hard on yourself again now.” She let go of Dee’s paw and winked. “Now, let’s see if you can make the lid that goes with this magnificent tea pot.”
Dee smiled to herself as she took the tea pot off the wheel and measured it to see how wide to make the lid.
“Sure thing,” she said, clearing some the water and clay out of the basin around the wheel so it wouldn’t slop over into her lap. “But then I’m going to make myself a Pyramid Pot.”