Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I got a lovely 3+ hours of solid work in the studio last night, which was well needed and overall quite pleasant. I did some necessary trimming and decorating of some larger bowls, wedged and kneaded some recycled clay, worked some on the fundraiser plates, and tackled throwing some vase forms.

The practice was needed, and I'm pretty pleased overall. I've been out of practice with throwing tall forms (other than those couple very large pieces, which don't really count, as they were thrown in multiple pieces) and I think a few hours to sit down and throw only cylinder forms was just the trick. I'm not saying that I'm back on the horse at a full gallop, but I feel like I'm definitely trotting, and maybe even approaching a lope. Please reflect momentarily on the unexpected equestrian reference.

My first throw of the evening was a flop - openned too wide, so there wasn't enough clay to go as tall as I wanted, and the neck wasn't right, and so the shape and the proportions were out of whack. I sacrificed that vase to science, dissecting it to examine how evenly I'd been throwing (I'll try to remember to take a picture of this the next time I slice a pot open). The autopsy revealed that, aside from simply staring out too wide at the bottom of the pot, the throwing was decent. Between 1/2" and 3/4" thick at the base, which is acceptable, allowing for some trimming, and then tapering to a pretty uniform thickness from about midway up all the way to the top. That stretch stayed pretty close to 1/4", maybe 3/8". So, pretty decent thickness there.

So I scrapped that pot, which was not too much of an inconvenience - the clay was still soft, not too aquasaturated (it's a new word I just made up), so it was throwable after a little wedging and sitting out for a few minutes. The resulting two pots/jars/bottle-necked vases are below, along with one from this weekend.

This one I threw on Saturday. It's a little bottom-heavy, but not unreasonably so.

Bottle Vase #1: I'm not yet satisfied with the shape of this one, but there's a decent amount of clay yet to be trimmed off around the foot. I like the lip on it, though. We'll see how I feel when I get back to it this weekend. If I toss it, it was still good practice and well worth my time.

Bottle Vase #2: I was much more pleased with the shape of this one. I'll be able to trim the foot to shape, but it won't require much. My favorite feature is the whole neck/lip portion. Really hits on the shape and feel I'd like to be getting with my vases. I'm excited to take on more of these.

That's the summary of the evening. I also enjoy my Tuesday evening's in the studio because friend and fellow potter Hide Igaki teaches a beginner's pottery class. First of all, it's fun to watch other people developing a passion and interest in pottery in the early stages. It's a good time.

More though, Hide is a skilled potter, and a terrific teacher, and it's good for me, even as someone who's been throwing for a number of years, to go back and be reminded of the basics, or to watch Hide demonstrate a way of doing things different from how I was taught. It's always good to go back to the beginning, pick up a few things you missed along the way, or ponder a different way of doing things.

I don't think this is an idea exclusive to pottery.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


me likey bottle vases