Pottery - i'm Loving It

Wednesday, February 11, 2015
My chest was acting up again this weekend which resulted in me feeling pretty crappy on Sunday. I came this close to not going to my pottery class. However, I sucked it up and headed out the door, figuring that I could always leave early if I started feeling worse. We were finishing up our wheel-thrown projects and moving onto hand sculpting. By the time I reached the City Arts Centre, I was feeling much better and was glad that I left the house.

Class this past week was quite productive. I cleaned up my final wheel projects and quickly discovered that I am not very good when it comes to decorating them. People around me where drawing intricate designs, laying down near perfect stripes and overall putting me to shame. However, I will be proud no matter how my finished items turn out. As I told our instructor Carole, I stopped expecting “perfect” after week 1. The first bowl I painted the previous week was out of the kiln following its first firing and I was thrilled that it hadn’t “exploded” (a possibility if there are air pockets/bubbles which I was notorious for). One of the colours didn’t turn out the exact shade I wanted but we’ll see what happens when it goes through the glazing process. Who knows?

Next up was the remaining four pieces I had thrown over the previous weeks. The cylinder (I don’t know what else to call it) in the upper right went into the kiln as is. I wanted at least one piece with no decoration – simple, elegant, classic.  The small bowl (lower right) was painted white and then I painted blue polka dots on the outside. Or at least that’s what the container said on the outside. It was actually very similar in colour to the shade I painted the entire bowl but Carole assured me it would come out blue after firing. The cup (lower left) was a bit of a disaster from the beginning. This was the one that I put a whole through when originally trimming it so we slapped a makeshift bottom on it. It eventually turned out alright but then I made the mistake of painting it. I decided to try dipping it in a fantastic red colour but it slopped around the inside and I didn’t bother trying to fix the interior paint job. Instead I painted the bottom outside half in black (although not very evenly) so… again, we’ll see. The one I’m most proud of (so far) is the larger bowl (upper left). It was the last piece I created on the wheel, with help as usual, and the one I’m desperate to have turn out well. I came across an example of what I wanted to do while searching for decorating ideas and I was inspired. I discussed with Carole about the colour scheme I wanted and how to create the effect I wanted. This week, I painted the entire pot in my main colour and then set it aside along with the others for its first firing. Next up, I’ll cover it in a clear glaze and then attempt to get the effect I want with a different coloured glaze. Here’s hoping!

The rest of this week’s class was spent learning about pinchpots. It’s a very basic method of creating pottery but I really enjoyed it. Sure, the three pieces I made (in about 5 minutes!) look like something a small child made in craft class but I really enjoyed it. There was something very soothing and relaxing about watching the sculpture come to life under my fingers in a way that I just didn’t get with the wheel. The wheel I found frustrating and scary but this was fun. The clay I was using was actually being reused from previous failed projects and as a result, the outside of all three of my items had a crackling effect on the outside – a result of it being used over and over. It looks really cool, especially with the interior being relatively smooth (and lots of finger prints). I’m surprisingly excited to see how they end up after being glazed.

No class next week because of the Family Day long weekend here in Alberta but I’ll try to get a picture with some of the cracking detail the following week. It’s hard to believe we’ve passed the half way mark. I’m enjoying it far more than I thought I would after that first class and wondering if I’ll try and take another one when this is all over.


Eugene K said...

your pots look great...hard to believe you're new at this

Karen said...

Thanks! I have to admit that each one of those had help from our instructor when it came to the final shape but I'm still going to take credit for them :)

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Your pots are really pretty! You should be very proud of your work.

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