I found this quote on a pottery blog: "We can make our minds so like still water that beings gather about us that they may see, it may be, their own images, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer life because of our quiet."- W. B. Yeats, "Earth, Fire and Water" from The Celtic Twilight.
I started throwing on my new wheel yesterday. I'd dug the clay some years ago and had done some prep work on it. It felt workable but as I tried to centre it I felt that it had lots of sand in it. The amount of water I needed to keep it moving dissolved the body. I had developed a technique for removing the outer layers of skin from my palms. I've put the clay aside for more contemplation.
Old brickmakers used to fire a test load of bricks probably in a clamp kiln and only when they'd cooled would know whether they'd "answered". Experience would tell them whether a clay was likely to answer but there was always uncertainty.
I think I'm asking this clay the wrong question.