after a month of ceramics classes, i finally have something that i can show you. pottery takes patience. this is a good medium for me to be working in, as i have always been one of those people who hurries things along. in these classes, i'm getting a lot of practice in letting things take as long as they should take. when i throw the wet clay on the wheel, i have to be very patient while i get the clay centered, and then work step by step forming it into a shape, without trying to hard to control it. it's almost as if i have to get completely out of the way of the clay in order to allow its shape to emerge. something along the lines of what michaelangelo said. but i can't just sit there doing nothing either. it requires a kind of keen focus and a very specific posture. i really love the potter's posture of straddling the wheel with elbows on my knees, my face only inches away from the clay.
after the pot is thrown comes the waiting for it to be leather hard for trimming. then you turn the pot upside down and anchor it with three pieces of clay so you can shape the pot's bottom or make for it a little "foot". this is the time when you also carve your name into your piece.
then, more waiting, for your piece to be "bisque" fired. then it's hard enough to paint with glaze. with each step i could indulge in great deliberation. the process is delicious, and allowed me to worry less about the end result.
after glazing, my pieces could be fired. when i arrived at the I street clay studio on saturday morning, my teacher jane had already put the pieces into the kiln. she gave me a long pair of thick gloves to put on and a long grabbing tool for removing the pots. i waved them around in the air for a minute before putting them into little cans lined with newspaper, which caught fire as soon as i put the pots in. when i took them out and sponged the soot off, they looked like this. i was very proud of them, but i am even more excited about how making them has changed me, slightly.