Musings about the importance and impact of art and art education in the 21st century.

Ceramics-Progress is good!

♠ Posted by ArtMuse at 12:25 PM

The last time I had taken a course in ceramics I was about 20 and I had the worst time with it.  There were quite a few students in the class and the friend that I was taking it with and I got little to no instruction on how to throw clay and shape it on the wheel.  Needless to say 2 or 3 absolutely terrible ash-tray's later I had completely lost any interest in ceramics and vowed that it was something that "just wasn't for me".  I dedicated myself to painting and drawing and have since for over a decade...Until now.

 A coworker of mine had casually mentioned that after teaching her 3rd graders a fairly in-depth and lengthy clay unit, that she really wanted to do some ceramics herself.  Spurred on by her comment, I thought to myself, I teach my students all about clay and yet I know little to nothing about it myself, maybe I should give working with clay another try.  And so I enrolled in an adult education beginner ceramics course right around the corner from my job and for the past 5 weeks or so I've been going once a week for 3-4 hours and have been making all kinds of great things.

I spend so much of my time figuring out ways to teach other people that I never stop  and take time to be a student myself.   I'm proud of myself for taking a class in something I always professed I had no interest in based on one silly bad experience and find that not only don't I dislike it, but that I actually really enjoy it, and although my first batch of thrown clay bowls are uneven, shaky, and well, tiny, I am proud nonetheless that I am progressing and most importantly learning!

Just as an fyi we use high fire white, brown, or red clay and I used Amaco high fire glazes.  The cup on the right is Amaco underglaze on bisque-ware.with 1 coat of clear gloss glaze over it.    


Good for you! I had a similar experience during my first wheel class in college. We couldn't save anything until we showed that we could throw a 6" cylinder that was the right thickness when cut in half. I spent almost the entire semester trying to get that cylinder. But then one day, it just clicked - I finally figured out how to use my body to keep it centered. After that, I wasa real fan of working on the wheel, although there were definitely days when it just didn't work. I took it to mean that I wasn't centered myself, and I just tried again another day. I wish I had a wheel at my house, but I'm such a messy potter, it's best for me to just continue to take classes at facilities. Keep it up!

Thanks so much for sharing your experience and for the support! There's something very organic about ceramics, who knew I'd like it so much!!