Sunday, May 17, 2015

Pottery therapy

Hi craft world.  I started a 10-week pottery class after a break up. Yes, it's a bit of a cliche, but one I would recommend to anyone. A full 3 -hour stretch once a week to just be absorbed in something to do with your hands, and enough to concentrate on without any real stress attached. All for $20 a class, plus clay.

I've learned a little bit about the nature of the clay, how it needs to be handled, and the wetness/dryness/ cracking behaviour. I've gone through the process of several weeks till you have a finished product - which has enforced patience and a certain letting go, because the results aren't always as expected, things crack and can't be finished, some glazes were faulty and didn't look right, etc. But overall it's been totally great. Low key chats with other people, some with a few terms of work, others just starting out.  A nice group dynamic emerges over 10 weeks and people are genuinely pleased to see each other's work emerge from the kilns and give you lots of positive feedback and exclamations.

I'm in my second term now, and have a new set of items which use decorating slip, before the first firing. I get to see them bisque fired next week and I'm very excited to see how they've turned out. I tried to take more care with these, as I'm learning how rushing the early stages means a bunch of little faults and imperfections later on.

If you are only going once a week - the stages are 1) moulding the wet clay (we started using rolled out pancakes of clay draped over moulds), 2) semi-drying in a plastic bag till its "leather hard", then doing finishing stuff like smoothing edges or punching holes, carving, etc  3) bisque fired so you can paint glazes on  4) ready to collect with glazes fired. Four weeks is the quickest this can happen but because it's a community centre, then they don't always get to fire everything every week so you can wait longer.  I like all the different tasks, and even the glazing which I didn't expect to! The layering weird colours is cool, but I get a bit indecisive over which of many different colour combos to try, because there's always a risk it will stuff up.Also - do I want lots of mis-matched items, thanks to wild colour experiments, or do I want o build up an earthy, ocean-y, brick-y, sandy kind of collection.
All the big questions.

There's wheels too, but I only had one go on them and have gone back to hand building. Wheels seemed to require more practice with zero out put, to just get the knack of throwing. And no  objects to hold and look at at the end. There's something to be said for the tactile.

Anyway, here's some pics from first term.
indents done with a banksia pod

stencil - worked well
failure - this lid sticks in the base, because of an indent in the clay.

Final platter combo. Still a bit more 'rustic' than I planned but, hey. And it's huge.

1 comment:

alison said...

SUPER impressed, Ms B! Those all look amazing.