As most of you know who have been following my Sunday Updates, I decided to take a pottery/ceramics class this fall. This class was a wheel class, specifically learning to throw pottery on the wheel, not hand shaping. I had only two goals for the class: to enjoy it and bring home something I had made. I didn't expect to become a master, of course. I've been in the creative business all of my life, and I know that real talent is a mix of instinct and hard work. Emphasis on the hard work.
I was hoping I would improve over time and enjoy the process and I did! I also met some very fine and lovely people in the class who I hope I'll get to see again in the next session. Because yes, I did enjoy it enough to sign up again for the winter session! I start again in January.
One thing I really loved about pottery was that it has a lot of parallels to writing. In pottery, you can take a crappy “first draft” and trim it up in “revisions” to make something interesting and worthwhile. An experienced potter throws a great first draft of a piece and their revisions are the tiniest tweaks to bring it into a state of almost perfection. I've seen this in writing too. My first drafts in writing now are a lot better, a lot cleaner and more polished, than my first drafts of years before, and they produce better books than they did seven years ago. I hope to improve my pottery craft in the same way!
Let's look at what I made this semester!
From left to right, first to last.
As you can see, over the course of the class, my bowls got a whole lot better. They started chunky and misshapen, and they ended up looking like a real bowl. Not elegant or anything, but still an improvement!
This last bowl went into the kiln in the above photo looking like it did and came out looking so different! I enjoyed painting that last bowl with glaze and I may do that again in the next session.
I made a little video showing the progression of my skills! It'll also give you a better idea of scale.
Here's a look at some of the pieces individually, both before and after they ended up in the kiln…
I'm really glad I decided to try a new creative hobby this year! It's been a fun way to kickstart a new passion. It also really helped keep me happy this fall. I looked forward to going to class every week, and that helped keep me grounded and sane during a very busy period of the year. If you've ever wanted to try pottery, you should give it a go! I really loved learning.