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For the past few weeks I have been taking an introduction to pottery class at Lillstreet Art Center. It has been an experience and I have a new appreciation for ceramics as I now understand how damned difficult they are to create. I took the class because it was a b'day gift from my roomie, and I thought I'd waltz right in and start cranking out works of art with ease. After all, it's clay and clay's fun to work with right? And I'm creative, artistic and have a great sense of color and form, right?

Well...erm...not quite right.

Clay is fun and I do think I have a nice aesthetic...but this is not an easy skill. What's more, while I liked the instructors at Lillstreet, I did not find them particularly effective. They're all nice and would likely be fun if you wanted to go out for a beer but as instructors they seem to only have two offerings: 1) "gosh, I don't know what you did wrong and I can't really tell you how to do it right because pottery is all about muscle memory and you just have to learn to do it by feel" or 2) they take over and do it for you. Neither is a particularly effective learning model for me.

After the first few weeks I was frustrated and angry at myself for not "getting it" (and being perfect, let's face it). Hand building was okay, but not as interesting to me as the wheel - and I didn't seem particularly good at it. I hand built "the drunken-footed bowl" and a kala cup - neither of which is pretty. You can see pics of the drunken-footed bowl

I only kept this bowl because I needed something to practice glazing on. I don't care for it - neither in form nor finish, but tarirocks seemed to find it passable so I have given it to her and insisted that she use it every time she eats cereal for the rest of her life.

I had even worse luck with the wheel and at the four week mark was sour-graping to people that I didn't think this was a craft for me, and that it was much to expensive and time consuming anyway (so there! humph!).

Then I went in to work alone on a sunny afternoon when the studio was quiet. I had my headphones playing mellow tunes and there was not an instructor in sight. I wedged six pieces, determined to craft at least one vessel on the wheel - and what do you know? I did it - and I loved it!

They are by no means perfect (and my phone takes crappy pictures) but you can see my wheel thrown pieces

Our class ends this week and I am torn. Part of me wants to try to continue with this art form, part of me knows that would difficult for me financially (if I did go on I could repeat this class, or could spend more money for a longer class with different instructors, or I could just pay for studio time to see what I can learn by doing). Lillstreet also offers oil painting classes (which are cheaper and I have more experience with oil painting)and I wonder if I should sign up for a painting class instead. I'd love to do them both, but due to time and money that's really not possible. Really, I don't have extra money for classes at all but it's so nice to be inspired, to meet other artists and to have a creative outlet with set goals and deadlines (which makes me work more regularly).

To pot or not to pot...that is the question...


May. 29th, 2009 12:41 am (UTC)
her work is breathtaking

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