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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.

Stoneware Bud­dha bowls, £38 each, made­and­good.com

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