Monday, June 22, 2009

Caution: Potters at Work

Our first morning in the studio, Terry demonstrated basic wheel-throwing skills: centering the clay, opening, and pulling up the walls of a simple form.

Terry, giving a demo.

He then assigned us the task of making several straight-sided cylinders, to assess our skill level. Because he was teaching different
techniques than what I had learned, I felt like a total beginner. My first couple of pieces didn't even survive the early steps, and those that did make it to the cylinder stage were of rather poor quality. Nothing from my morning's work was worth keeping, and all went to the recycled clay bag for re-use in the afternoon.

One thing Terry had us do after lunch was to cut open our cylinders to inspect our work. The photo below shows the one piece that came closest to achieving my goals - a flat bottom, straight sides, and walls of equal thickness, top to bottom.

The walls aren't totally straight, and there is still some residual clay at the bottom of the wall, where it joins the floor, but the rest is okay. This minor accomplishment spurred me on to work harder in the afternoon, when we graduated to shaping the cylinders into basic forms. These simple vases were the end result.

bottom-heavy, both of them
Pottery must mirror the potter.

Terry's pots, drying on the ledge of the studio's back deck, served to inspire us.
So, we kept on plugging away, everyone determined to accomplish some good work as soon as possible.

Ginger at the wheel
Sue, hand-building specialist
Carol, completing a pot
from left to right:
Diane, Sue, Michelle, Mary, and Peggy,
all hard at work
finished work at the end of day one

After several days, we had a full kiln load of greenware, ready to fire.
Opening the kiln is like Christmas morning. The anticipation of seeing our treasures was almost more than we could bear.
Terry, at our first kiln-opening

No one could believe how much pottery Terry could squeeze into the kiln.

The whole crowd, behind a table full of our work.

1 comment:

Mary said...

I like how you show everyone at work and then the fruits of your labor at the very end! Bravo! That's a lot of pottery!