As I said in my past article, ceramics is my happy place. During this busy, busy summer I decided I needed my happy place back to deal with all the overwhelming things I had going on. Therefore I signed myself up for an all-levels ceramics class at a local arts center. I had taken one class there before, portrait drawing, but that was during my junior year of high school (to put that into perspective I’m about to be a junior in college.)
I went into the class simply wanting to get back on the wheel. The first day of class was a bit of an awkward blur… everyone there was an adult (like a real adult not a 20 year old college kid who doesn’t even buy one’s own groceries.) What made things more awkward was that everyone knew each other and I was just chilling in the corner on a wheel not knowing where anything was or what was acceptable or not considering it was a studio I’d never been to before. I had some hope when a girl my age showed up and we were talking in between throwing bowls but after that first class she never showed up again. Therefore the only other person close to my age was the son of one of the older women (they were both taking the class). The son is on the spectrum and is amazing with letters and numbers, it sometimes leaves me speechless, but he does slab work rather than throwing on the wheel so I’m still alone in the corner with a wheel.
As the weeks go by some of the ladies start to talk to me and as we all create more and more things I got more comfortable because I could at least talk to them all about their pieces. This truly helped. I think I thought the class was going to be like a college course where everyone kind of has to be making the same thing or doing the same thing at the same time but it wasn’t like that at all. The teacher was just there if you needed help or wanted a demo, anything really. I realized I was learning the most by watching other people in the class, seeing things they did differently than I did. I also started to ask other people questions which is probably how I learned the most out of this class. For example, I saw one of the woman making an awesome texture on her vase and I simply asked her was she was doing and she explained burnishing to me which I’d never known you could really do. Other people also inspired me; a guy in class right away would always wedge such a big piece of clay and just throw something, anything he felt in the moment, and make it work. This inspired me to just go for it and I made my biggest pieces yet… This biggest piece sadly blew up in the bisque firing; it was a tall pitcher. Another piece of mines bottom blew up in the same firing but I decided to glaze and Raku fire it anyways and it was worth it; from most of the angles you can’t even tell it’s missing a bottom chunk.
As for glazing I absolutely loved the idea of trying out new glazes considering I’ve only every done ceramics at school and although they have a wide variety of glazes it’s always fascinating to try new ones out. I also learned the whole Raku firing processes, which I had missed out on in Basic Ceramics due to surgery. It was so cool and just truly useful to learn. Through this process I think I realized the true delicacy that ceramics really is.
I thoroughly enjoyed the class and I’m excited to continue learning as well as show off my new little techniques I learned.