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My Lumpy Bowl And Other Creative Pursuits

August 4, 2009

Remember a few weeks ago when I signed up for a pottery class? It was only three weeks long and absolutely flew by, and yesterday I went to pick up my final products.

We made a mug, a bowl, a salad plate, and a dinner plate. The last class was spent glazing, which was interesting. For instance, one of the colors I used was “waterfall blue”, but the actual glaze color, before firing, was brown. From what I understood from the instructor, Cathey Bolton, the owner of Art on Depot where I took the class, glaze has stuff in it that actually turns to glass when it is heated in the kiln. I never knew that before! Also, it’s sort of unpredictable in some ways, and on surfaces with any steepness, like a bowl or mug, the glaze will start to drip down as it heats.

Here’s how mine turned out:

Kinda lumpy!

Kinda lumpy!

Another view of my lumpy bowl

Another view of my lumpy bowl

My first meal in my new bowl!

My first meal in my new bowl!

Morning oats in my new bowl!

Morning oats in my new bowl!

Can you tell I’m in love with my new bowl? I know it’s not the prettiest thing in the world, and certainly far from professional looking, but I made it and I love it! You can see where the glaze dripped and swirled some, and even filled in some of the polka dots I made. This was a class where we hand-built everything; no wheels were involved. This bowl was made using a combo of the pinch and coil methods. I’d actually love to take this same dinnerware course again and try to  make a smoother bowl!

My mug

My mug

You’ll notice the very bottom doesn’t have glaze on it. Another interesting thing I learned taking this class is that you have to put wax on the bottom of all pieces because when the glaze heats up it can actually adhere to the kiln, making the piece impossible to remove. The wax prevents the glaze from adhering to the clay and I think it must melt off during the firing process. Again, you can see where the glaze dripped and swirled, but I like that unpredictability.

Salad Plate

Salad Plate

My plates are my favorite! To look at, anyway. They’re sort of an unusual shape, but this plate is good for one piece of toast or a sandwich. We used a wooden block type thing to make these. We started with a big square piece of clay, put whatever design we wanted onto it, then laid it, design side down, over the block, pressed it down around the block, then cut the edges about an inch past where the block ended. The clay was then dried out on the blocks, then the blocks were removed.

Dinner Plate

Dinner Plate

The dinner plate was made the same way. I haven’t eaten anything off of it yet, but maybe for dinner tonight. You can see on both of the plates a line in the  middle from the glaze being overlapped when the pieces were dipped and then dipped again to get the other side of the plate.

This class and process were so wonderful! Playing in clay for two hours a week was very, very therapeutic and an excellent way for me to get out of my own head. I strongly suggest learning a new skill, especially one where you use your hands, to anyone out there who thinks too much! Of course having a usable end product at the end of the class is a huge bonus, and now I’ll always have something to look back on.

Have you ever taken an art class as an adult? Did you enjoy it?

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