Somewhere long ago, I learned that Willa Cather read the Bible each day before she began writing. She was not a religious woman, so she was not reading for spiritual enlightenment. Rather, it was the language. Something about the language of the text tapped into her mind where her own stories were produced. She does not obviously write with Old Testament cadences, but those long-ago-laid-down words inspired the rhythms in her own language.
So it is, sort of, that I signed up for a class in sculpting clay. I have been researching a 19th Century woman who sculpted medallions, busts, and full figures of people, and the clay class seemed like a way to understand more about her. The easy part is that I have no expectations for creating something wonderful or even recognizable. I want only to learn what it is like to make the effort, push at the stiff, cold clay, and somehow gain some feeling of the art.