I don't get to be very creative in my line of work, and I try to compensate for it in my free time as much as I can. I love cooking, photography and interior design, but I've been missing doing something which would lead to creation of an actual product that is ever lasting. I've been trying various activities, but I struggled to find something which would fulfil my expectations until I've tried pottery.
I was surprised to find out that it's not so easy to find a course where I live. I contacted several ateliers before I finally got involved in a class. I have only started recently, but I have already fallen in love with the pottery craft.
Let me take you on my journey with me!
When I came to the class for the first time I realized that I was the only student with no prior experience which has discouraged me a little bit, but the teacher spent a lot of time with me and showed me how to prepare the clay, place it correctly on the potter's wheel and how to work with my hands to create certain products. It was my 4th lesson yesterday and I was told to be a natural talent! How flattered I was! 😊
At first I was scared to work with the clay as the whole process looks so delicate, but somehow I managed to create products with my own hands. The way I have to use my hands is unnatural to me, but once I learned it I became more confident. It's amazing to feel the clay changing its shape under your hands.
My products are far from perfect, but I like to say that the rustic shapes are exactly what I'm trying to create 😊 My work needs some polishing, but I already know that I will continue my journey after the course as well. Who knows where it will lead me?
First, we need to prepare our working space. There is a bucket with water, sponge and some tools. Then we put a bit of water on the potter's wheel and place a chunk of clay on it. The most difficult part for me is to centre the clay, so that I can work with it properly. It includes pushing the clay up and down with my hands until there are no bumps while the wheel is turning. Here we have the clay that is centred and ready to work with.
Working with the clay makes me think of my childhood. It doesn't matter that the clay is everywhere and I am dirty up to my elbows. It's actually exactly what makes the process so cool and satisfying.
To create a certain product you need a lot of water to soften the clay, so that you can shape it. First you find the centre of your material and create a hole with your thumb, then you push it to the sides, shape the bottom of the product and start to work on the sides.
The bottom of the product doesn't look perfect as it still needs reshaping, but we first have to let it dry. When you let the clay dry for certain time it will became what we call 'leather hard', and this is when you can shape it to its final form.
Once you are happy with what you created (or not), you can clean the wheel with the sponge and remove the excess of material with this tool.
Look how smooth it is...
Then you push a thin thread underneath your product and use this tool to remove it from the wheel to place it on a clean wooden board.
Here are some things that I created in the first two classes.
They will have a very different shape after I work with them again once they are leather dry.
And this is how they look like when they're leather hard. They are not so shiny anymore.
Each product is placed upside down on the wet wheel. We also put some clay around it to make sure that it will not be moving.
The bottom is created in certain order, and it is important to measure the thickness of the bottom before you start to avoid breaking through the material.
This part of the work is satisfying and you don't even get dirty as you don't use water!
The shavings are recycled and reused for another products.
Once we're happy with the product we sign it. I decided to use my initials. I scratched the clay deep, so that it will be visible after glazing as well.
It's important to clean the wheel before removing your product to avoid those little pieces to stick to the material and damaging it.
And this is how my products look after I shaped them...
I already have plans for each of them. Some of them will become Christmas presents 😊
And after we're done with the work we also need to clean our workstation...
Et voila! Looks like new...
I haven't managed to leave the class with clean clothes yet 😊
And this is how the room looks like. There is plenty of clay available to us, all the tools that we need and a tea pot as we always take time for a tea break...
Next week I will be glazing my products for the first time and I can't wait to get creative with colours. It's going to be so much fun!
This is not so relevant to the post, but today we had this beautiful rainbow right in front of our window. I took it as a sign as it's my late father's birthday and even though it's been more than 2 years I still miss him. Happy birthday dad!
Until next time...