Before the clay can be formed into a pot, it must be centered, so that every part of it lines up with the very heart of the wheel. The unruly clay wobbles at first, heading off in all directions. The potter adds water and presses his hands against the sides of the clay as it spins, pushing the clay closer to the wheel head, smoothing uneven places, and pressing bumpy edges. Finally, under the firm and gentle guidance of the potter, the clay begins to center. It is a process that requires much time, trust, and patience. But by the end, the clay will be smooth, solid, and perfectly aligned—on its way to becoming a true work of art.