clay

 

first batch of ceramics

ceramics first batch with shadow

my brother warned me that starting ceramics was like trying an addictive substance – once you’ve tasted the clay, it becomes you, and you won’t be able to stop. i turned a deaf ear to his warning. after all, i have known art-obession, known it through music and writing. a bit of clay and a spinning wheel couldn’t possibly affect me in the same way. i’d take one semester, i decided, and it would be fun and interesting, nothing more.

here are some of my pieces from the class (many shown have not yet been glazed). it was interesting to experience tangible art; unlike music, the expression doesn’t evaporate as the sound dies. it sits right there in the clay, unmoving proof of exactly what went on during its making.

i enjoyed working on the wheel trying to pull pieces nice and tall. some days i just threw cylinders, recycled them and threw more cylinders. this was my equivalent of practicing musical scales. i also experimented with slab pieces, coils, and handbuilding. always having tea on my mind, i loved making mugs, small cream pitchers, and curious tea warmers (not pictured). understanding the behavior of different glazes was a challenge because one small alteration, like where the piece sits on the kiln shelf, can dramatically affect the outcome. glazes continue to mystify me.

it was so literal working with clay. you touch it and it’s never the same again. i trained my hands to practice meticulous perceptions. feeling the inside of a vessel to adjust its form is very similar to palpating a pregnant belly to determine the fetal position. not too hard or soft. don’t use your eyes. feel subtlety with more than just your hands. less knowing, more feeling. less feeling, more knowing.

overall this class and the experience of belonging to a physical art studio were amazing. and yes, my brother was right: most students did indeed live and breathe the clay, seemingly addicted, spending every possible day and evening at the studio. i suppose i’ll see them all again at the autumn session.

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Wednesday, May 31, 2006. Tags: . sculpture. Leave a comment.