Thursday, January 19, 2012

Some Ceramics

I took a beginner's wheel ceramics class last year. I always wanted to learn ceramics, but the last time I handled clay was in 1995 when I took a sculpture class. I was fairly good at it, but transporting my projects without a car was sheer hell. I didn't have a car again and an inclination to pursue a class until lately.

I'm not used to things being very difficult. Motivation is difficult for me, not execution, I find. Therefore I was practically traumatized the first half of my first class by how hard wheel ceramics was turning out to be. (No pun intended. :P) Also, it's messy. Me and messy aren't really friends, I don't care if you've seen my closet. I don't like my hands gooey. So I was having a near OCD experience, as well. I had to get over that... for the most part.

By the second day I had it well enough for my blood pressure to drop back to it's normal low. (Maybe that's why get-up-and-go is a problem for me... my blood pressure usually causes nurses to say, "How do you feel? Are you tired? Do you mind if we try this again?")

I started with Danish Sand, which has a neighbor called Danish Plain, who is sand-free. I went this route instead of more earthy clay because I made it clear to the instructor from the get-go that my aim was porcelain. I love Asian pottery. I would be thrilled to make a perfect celadon bowl. If I started with Danish Sand and then moved on to Danish Plain he thought I would be fairly well prepared for the feel of porcelain.
Three small pieces: brown bowl, white bowl, and sake cup

Bowl of Danish Plain clay, about 3" wide
My best piece is the porcelain sake cup I made near the end. I am both frugal and stubborn, and I have small hands, so I was not daunted at all by trying small pieces. It's about 1 1/2" in diameter.
Inside view of sake cup. This is fairly true to color - it's greenish.

Bottom of sake cup. The footing on this is about 1/8" wide. The outer graze is blue-gray.
After I used up the Danish clay, I got some coarser clay to try to knock out some quick pieces. This bowl was one result. I was unhappy with how it trimmed up, so I did some carving on it to cover it up. The glaze dripped a bit, but at least it dripped consistently. :P
Earthenware bowl, about 4" wide

Bottom of earthenware bowl
There are more pieces as well, but I don't want to inundate the blog with photos all in one sitting. More on the other pieces later.

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