Friday, November 12, 2010

Student to artist to teacher to student again.

Learning is a life long process that circles from learning to doing to teaching and for me, back to learning again. In my last blog I wrote about taking a writing workshop. I'm also taking clay classes. And even though I've taken clay classes, produced clay sculptural work, written professionally and taught classes, I love being a student again.

First lesson learned: I throw clay left handed. I write right handed. Yep. That's why all those years ago in ceramics class, I could never throw a pot, bowl, cup or anything straight. In fact, I was so bad, even the teacher suggested I should stay away from the wheel. Ok, to be fair, my clay had the habit of spinning off my wheel at a high speeds and hitting the wall. But, really, I was trying to do it the right way. Now, I know what was wrong, thanks to Jan, my new teacher who watched me and asked me, "Are you left handed?" "Sometimes," I replied. So, she stopped the wheel, flipped the toggle switch up instead of down and finally it felt right.

Second lesson learned: Potter's wheels turn counter clockwise for right handed people and clockwise for left handed people. Amazing. I never knew there was a choice. And to be fair, I wasn't given a choice. I was to be right handed, period. I've found as an adult, that I do somethings well right handed and somethings well left handed and sometimes I can just use whatever hand is handy.

Third lesson learned: I can throw a bowl. And it isn't horrible, a little wonky maybe, and I needed instruction on some of the steps. But I was able to get it centered and pulled up and pushed out all on my own. Left handed, of course.

Biggest lesson learned: Knowledge is not only powerful but empowering. It's never too late to learn and turn a failure into a success.

Now, I can't wait to learn more about glazes, slips, raku and oxides...oooh what fun!


Lisa Griffen said...

Awesome! Being left-handed, I've always had to make adjustments and ended up doing a lot of things right-handed, like using scissors. What a breakthrough, to get the wheel working the right way for you.

I'm enjoying my sculpture class too, but it is really humbling to be a student again and be back at the beginning.

beadbabe49 said...

And how lucky that this time you had a teacher who asked!

Susan Gallacher-Turner and Michael Turner said...

Lucky...for me, for sure!
But to be fair, it wasn't all luck as I know Jan is an awesome teacher. She is what every teacher should strive to be!

Susan Gallacher-Turner and Michael Turner said...

Wow, Lisa, didn't know you were left handed. It's not fair that you have had to suffer with right-handed things like that. But maybe this sculpture class you're taking will help you find a way to bring your hands together in a whole new way.

I know the feeling, for sure, some of the 'students' in this class were potter pros in their 20's. So it can be intimidating...let's vow to keep up our spirit of adventure, then. Right?

goldenbird said...

Reading your post made me want to sign up for some art classes. That's wonderful the teacher was able to figure out why you were struggling. I'm left-handed, so if I ever try to learn to throw I will keep that in mind.

Susan Gallacher-Turner and Michael Turner said...

Wow...all these left-handed artists and I didn't even know it! glad that this is helpful info for you and hope that you'll let yourself take a new class or two!