December 8, 2011

Pottery Update

It's been a while since I've shared what's been going on with my pottery endeavors. I'm happy to say that I've continued working hard and improving more and more each time I throw. I feel so thankful that I've found a place here in the heartland where I can explore this amazing art. I can't even describe how wonderful it feels to throw pottery. It just feels right.

The studio where I have the privilege of throwing can have both it's advantages and disadvantages. It's a community of all kinds of ceramic artists with varying levels of experience. In the front of the space is an inspiring gallery full of pieces that are for sale. The pieces have been crafted by those who rent studio space. Beyond the gallery is where the artists get all their work done. Along the perimeter are private spaces that are rented out. Each artist that has one of these spaces has all of their own equipment and sets up their space to meet their own individual needs.  In the middle section is a public space filled with pottery wheels and solid wooden tables covered in canvas, outlined with shelves. This is a space that's used for classes and others that don't have their own equipment. Beyond this is a separate glaze and kiln room.

I get to throw pottery in the public space! I'm grateful to be able to have access to a pottery wheel and a space to explore pottery. Since I don't have any of my own equipment, except for an assortment of tools and basics, this is the best set up for me. Since this is a community I have the opportunity to learn from so many wonderful people and absorb lots of information.

This type of set up can feel very limiting at times. I don't always have room on my shelves to put all my pots. Even though I have my name on my two shelves I will sometimes find random things that aren't mine placed there. Sometimes my favorite wheel is taken or worse moved. Often I feel like a fish and like everyone is always watching me. When it comes time to firing my pots there is no real schedule. Also only one person is allowed to actually do the firing process so the results stay consistent. I've been able to help with the loading and unloading of the kilns but not the actual firing.

I find it to be challenging at times not to get discouraged. I find myself comparing my pieces to those who've been throwing pottery for many, many years. I desire so badly to have my own space where I have control over the organization of everything and the firing process. Where I don't have to share! Of course I know that being all alone would have it's disadvantages too. I really am learning so much by being a part of this community. What an amazing opportunity I've been given. I just need to remember that this is a time to learn and grow. I need to hold on to the hope that one day I will have more shelf space and access to all the tools I need when I need them. And most of all I will be able to share my pots with others and have a display of my own work in a gallery.

Until then I will keep growing and learn all that I can. Below I've got some pictures of my most recent pieces. I was discouraged when I first saw them come out of the kiln. None of the glazes worked the way I thought they would. Once I got my pieces out in natural light and out of that nasty fluorescent stuff they looked much better than I originally thought. I would love to hear what you think! Which one is your favorite?

This glaze was a BIG surprise.

I wrote about this little acorn before he was glazed. I love the shadow he makes! The glaze didn't show the texture on the top though :( And the lid doesn't quite work.

I really like the way the inside of this bowl turned out.

Isn't this one fun? One end of the handle popped off when it was bisque fired so I decided to see what would happen after glazing it. I was surprised that it actually stayed on. I like how unique it is and it still works just fine.

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