The building idea sound as if it would motivate.
I like the secret compartment idea too. Our Art and Design
Students(Monash University 1st year students) have to make a model of
their favourite object as an introduction to hand building..
I wonder too if the process of coil building in itself leads to the
ashtry like forms. Gettting away from the "pottery" form and using
clay as a sculpture medium may lead to more adventurous images.