Saturday, January 26, 2013

As The Wheel Turns...

After the holidays, it’s time to get back to work in the studio. It might be rainy, cold and gray outside, but I head out to my wheel in the garage anyway. I pile on the polar fleece, pull up my sleeves and throw that clay on the bats. Hint: Hot water in my throwing bucket is like manna from heaven on days like these.

I’ve written a lot about my clay learning curve. (You can read most of those blogs by clicking the sidebar under clay.) I’m happy to say my throwing skills are improving and getting good pieces is getting easier. I’m getting consistent with the clay and that’s a very good thing. Oh, I still have my bad bowl days, but they are getting fewer. When it happens, I figure the universe is trying to remind me I’m not perfect, so neither is my work. I try my best, each and every time. Most of the time it works, sometimes not. I move on anyway.

I didn’t let it stop me from learning what I wanted to learn. I don’t let it stop me now. Life’s too short to give up. Ever.

Sometimes, what seems like a total flop at the wheel can turn into a cute pot later.

My latest challenge is throwing plates. I’ve had several total disasters. Again, I didn’t let it stop me. I just kept trying. And I’ve managed to throw a few good ones lately. Not perfect, of course. But, bigger, better and no S cracks.

I’m also becoming much more comfortable using a rib. I actually prefer using the sponge when I throw and even after I rib out all the lines to perfect smoothness, I find myself picking up the sponge and putting lines back in. Sometimes, I do it before I realize I’ve gone and undone what I’ve just done. If that sounds crazy, it might be. But I think that maybe there’s a part of me that just doesn’t want perfectly smooth. I think deep inside there is a little soul of imperfection just determined to make its mark on my art.

Here’s a little piece of advice for you, if you’d like some. If you’re just starting out, google wheel throwing on YouTube, you’ll find some great, and not so great, throwing videos out there. I’ve watched many. Some just don’t click with me, so I click to another one. Some seem fine until I try it out and realize it just doesn’t work for me. Now, I know that even the best videos, books, classes and instructors can only show you their way of wheel throwing. Your way is going to be uniquely your way. Just as mine is uniquely mine.

I center my clay right handed, switch to left to smooth. Switch back to right to do a few pulls, switch to left to shape. Then finish right handed to cut and trim the bottom.

I had to figure out my own way, in my own time, but that’s how life and the wheel turns.

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