My eldest son has started pottery classes at school, which he enjoys and which is to be applauded, etc. However, I now have a shelf laden with misshapen bowls, approximately rendered plates and several lumpy things beyond description. I would rather replace these with lovely handmade ceramics made by proper craftspeople but I don’t want to upset him. How should I go about it?
Answer in brief: select a single piece to display, then chuck the rest. Although the artistic soul is a sensitive thing and needs to be tended to carefully, you don’t want to give your son a false sense of his own genius if it’s not deserved. Does he, actually, show any real promise? If so, select one of his better pieces and display it prominently: on a side table, say, with an anglepoise directed at it in the manner of a gallery. Then sweep the rest into a box and put under a bed. He will be so thrilled with the attention given to one of his works, he won’t notice. If he doesn’t show any real promise, just chuck the lot out. It’s a tough world out there and he’d better get used to it.
Turn to page 114 of September's The Simple Things for more on how to make a handmade home.