Thursday, March 19, 2009


Howdy all! First off, I wanted to reiterate that I am commited to making this class enjoyable for each of you. It seemed likely that a few of you felt slightly intimidated about the assignment for the class. And while I feel that some of you should jump in no holds barred, there may be some whose time is better spent focussing on the basics and the fundamentals of getting your pots to just stand up. I don't want anyone to feel that they have been thrown into the deep water and still don't know how to swim yet. The point I tried to emphasize last monday was that as long as you can get your basic shape thinned out you won't really risk it to start exploring the creative detail making. It may seem like you need to focus on only one thing at a time, but I will guarantee that you can have way more fun when you start to investigate the more creative and imaginitive part of the process. Maybe leave it just a bit thicker than you might otherwise until you get the hang of the new technique or shapping requirements.

So here is my advice to you all: Choose something that you are intrigued by that will challenge your abilities as you understand them. I will help you figure out how to approach making it, so don't fear that you are all on your own. The point of this exercise and the point of the class as a whole is that unless you are used to looking at other people's pots, and unless you are used to playing around with ideas that other people have tried, you will be limited to mining your inspiration from a very narrow source. Your ideas will only extend as far as what you already know. You will end up needing to 'reinvent the wheel' every time you try something new. Looking at what other people have done gives you an idea of what is possible. It gives you grounds for exercising your abilities at problem solving, and tests your relationship with the clay by introducing new techniques and ways of working. Eventually you will have looked at so much that the way you look at your own pots will be influenced by this background. Your developement as artists will be more sophisticated the broader your awareness of the potentials you are working with.

I understand how daunting this project may seem, especially as it takes you away from your 'safe zone', but I encourage you all to have fun with it. Don't feel like every lump of clay has to be something special and survive as a successful pot. As long as you are learning it has served an important purpose. And have fun with it! Don't get too worked up with expectations. Take the long view that every pot you make adds to your experience. And the more experience you get the more you understand the clay and your own abilities. The better this understanding the easier it is to make what you want. The better able you are to make things successfully the more fun you will have. So think of what you are doing as having a long term goal. Relax and have fun with it!



  1. There are some really nice pots being thrown in this class!

  2. Thanks Sue! I agree. Already in week #2 folks have really embraced the assignment and are challenging themselves to make better, more interesting pots. Please join us if you have the time. I think this idea of focusing on details and honning your ability to craft them really pays off quite quickly. Hope to see you there!


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