Sunday, December 30, 2007

Messy Fun at the Potter's Guild

I have always wanted to try pottery throwing. It is one of those things that look so fascinatingly simple when you see artists do it, but that you know involves huge amounts of skill and precision (and actually, a lot of chemistry and physics). Lucky for us, this year D's parents became members of the Deep River Potter's Guild, which meant that family members were all allowed to play in the clay studio over the holidays and make all sorts of wonky wares.

The studio is used by potters with all levels of experience - there were some really beautiful pieces lining the shelves, glazed and unglazed:

I love the glaze on these bowls - D's mom knows the artist and explained that they were dipped in two glazes, and where they overlapped, created another colour effect.

Basic clay prep and throwing starts with wedging the clay, which involves pressing the clay down in repeated motions to remove trapped air bubbles inside, which stops it from doing crazy things like exploding in the kiln and such (always a good thing).

Wedging the clay

Next up, a quick lesson on centreing our clay on the bat and wheel, forcing it into a cone and the flattening it (called coning) before you start to shape it:

Then, attempting some throwing on our own. We made an indent and pulled it outward to shape the insides of our bowls (after which my hands got too dirty to take more pictures, so no other progress pics)

Another interesting point: almost all the clay can be used over and over again - very little is ever wasted, because you can immerse dried clay in water and it can be reclaimed!)

Not bad! Three bowls survived - mine is the bottom right. At this point we left the bowls to dry for a few days to reach leather-hard stage, when you can shape the base of the bowl. Below are mugs that D's mom made us for Christmas:

Recognize the coasters?

A few days later, we carved lip-thingies into our bowls and readied them for glazing:

We left the bowls behind in Deep River to be glazed and fired - hopefully they'll turn out. I must say I really enjoyed myself, as did D. In fact, we might just sign up for some classes in Columbus - the to-do list keeps growing!


Kenneth said...

looks like you guys had a fun time! there's a 'paint your own pottery' place (or something along those lines) in grandview i've always wanted to do, but ken has shown little enthusiasm for the idea. :)

we should definitely do a regular crafty get together.

zarafa said...

whoa... i had no idea ken was signed in (or that he had an account for that matter). i assumed it was me signed in.