Some Chinese friends invited me to learn how to make a traditional vase or bowl at a local pottery workshop in Harbin.

Unfortunately it turns out I’m not naturally gifted at this pottery business, with my first few attempts ending in a rather ugly, sticky blob. At one point I managed to accidentally produce a rather impressive, if I do say so myself, flower – the result of my vase collapsing in an unexpected spiral pattern (although of course I maintain that it was entirely intentional…), although sadly the clay was too thick to be safely kilned.

In the end, one of the demonstrators had to produce a vase for me and my dreams of discovering my deeply-buried artistic talent were dashed. Despite the lack of success with pottery, the trip was however a great opportunity to practice my Chinese and hang out with new friends – so not a complete disaster…

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