One Year of Pottery

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Last year, one of the intentions I set for 2012 was to explore my artistic side. I am pleased to say that I really did do this, and it enriched my life. I took a photography course through Creative Live, got out my art supplies and tried my hand at painting with acrylics for the first time, and I took pottery classes– three times! It did enrich my life, and it was really fun trying something new and working on various projects through the year. I think I also gained a lot of confidence in the process, and a genuine curiosity about what I can make with my own hands.Since pottery was totally new and what I devoted the most time (about 60 hours in class) and energy to this year, I thought it would be fun to just show you my learning process/ progress.

We started out hand-building objects, which was fun. This was my first show-and-tell, when I got that first taste of the satisfaction of bringing something useful home!

There is a step here that is missing– my first few weeks on the potter’s wheel. Mostly, I made very small vases that were a little wonky/ wobbly, and thick. I learned about glazes the hard way in several cases, and, long-story-short, made quite a few pieces which I did not keep. I actually wish I had taken pictures of these as well, for the purpose of showing you what starting out looks like!

After a month (translating into only 5 hours, really) of practice on the wheel, I saw some big improvements. I was able to throw larger vessels, and found some good glazes I liked. I enjoyed showing some of the results here.

After summer break, I went back, and my new class had much fewer people vying for the wheels. This was great, since I really wanted to spend more time on them, getting through as many lumps of clay as I could, honing my skills and styles. The smallest ones below are a couple of my favorites, and they are the product of larger vessels gone badly– I salvaged the remaining small bit of clay on the wheel and was so pleased to be able to make something sweet out of it.

I didn’t actually improve in the last class of the year, in terms of being able to throw larger pieces. But I was able to get the sides much thinner, and I feel like I developed a style of ceramics that I like. The things I brought home began to look like they belonged together. I didn’t get pictures of everything, since I gave away about half of the better ones at Christmas. But here are the ones I held onto– as you can see, once I found this satiny white glaze, I couldn’t get enough of it.

It’s a lot of fun to use them for my own flower arrangements!

And I like seeing them all lined up together!

So, my next class starts in a few days, and I am looking forward to continuing to learn this skill, and see what else I come up with.

Did you learn a new skill in 2012? Do you have plans to try something new in 2013? I’d love to hear about it!

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18 Responses to One Year of Pottery

  1. Joanna January 10, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

    The new skills I’m planning on this next year are not necessarily artistic unfortunately as I start my doctoral studies – well hopefully. I’m waiting to hear if they have accepted me yet. I will have a go at freeform crochet though. I adore crafts and making things and have a room full of materials to get going on, but when I get studying I haven’t the time and when I’m not I’m usually in the garden.

    All the best with your pottery, I do love the style you have developed

    • Ariana Mullins January 15, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

      Oh! Starting your doctoral studies is so exciting! I hope you get good news about getting into the program soon. I think it will be good to dos something creative on the side, though, to balance things out. I would be in the garden, too– that is definitely a creative activity, in the most literal sense!

  2. Amanda January 10, 2013 at 11:15 pm #

    I love your flower arrangements! And I like the sweet wobble of the small vase in the last photo – so cute 🙂

    • Ariana Mullins January 15, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

      Thank you, Amanda! That little wobble vessel reminds me of some kind of sea-something. Maybe the shell of a sea anemone?

  3. Robin January 11, 2013 at 12:33 am #

    As usual, I adore your flowers! The pots are lovely. Isn’t throwing pots so much fun? I love pottery so much more than metal or glass or crystal. It has such a nice feel to it.

    This year I’m getting back into needlepoint, doing some sewing crafts and I’m super excited to start making cards!
    It looks like a lot of fun and something useful 🙂

    http://www.keepingrobin.blogspot.com

    • Ariana Mullins January 15, 2013 at 2:17 pm #

      Hi Robin. I agree completely about the feel of pottery. I love the heaviness, and the smooth glazes– there is this human attraction to holding the earth in our hands, isn’t there?
      Card-making sounds like fun! Do you write a lot of letters, or do you mostly sell them? I have a bit of a card and stationary addiction, and I am hoping to USE the stash I have this year!

      I am also glad you left your blog address– I will be heading over there shortly to say hello!

  4. Anonymous January 11, 2013 at 1:14 am #

    I think all of those pieces look great; and they really do look beautiful grouped together…I love making little bouquets when I can find something pretty outside. The one thing I would really love to do this year is an addition to my house and some remodeling…don’t know if it will happen or not (depends a lot on finances, ofcourse) but a little DIY is exactly what I would like to throw myself into this year. Even if it turns out to be on a smaller scale than what I would wish for, I think I would learn a lot. Good luck on your class! I hope to see more photos of your work.
    Julie

    • Ariana Mullins January 15, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

      Hi Julie, and thank you for your nice words about my pottery! I hope you get to do some great projects at home this year. When we bought a tiny little house in Portland, Oregon, it seems like all of our extra resources went toward improving our home, and it was SO gratifying. I am of course less motivated and not permited to do much here in our rental, but I find fixing up my living space super rewarding. Enjoy!

  5. greatdana January 12, 2013 at 4:32 am #

    How fun and your pottery is beautiful!

  6. Kym Hamer January 12, 2013 at 10:58 am #

    Well done you – those little white vases with all of the wild flowers look gorgeous!

    One of my Christmas presents was a cookbook from the Beechworth Bakery (famous in Victoria, Australia) so the pressure is on to try my hand at a few Oz favourites. My stepmum has already marked out ‘Beestings’ for me to try!

    • Ariana Mullins January 15, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

      Happy New Year, Kym! I love getting an inspiring new cookbook and trying a bunch of new recipes. I am not at all familiar with Aussie baking, I’ll have too look up Beestings. Have fun!

  7. Hazel January 12, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

    Pottery for me! I’m really looking forward to the pottery lesson that Connie and I have for her Christmas present.

    I love your pots, the jug at the beginning of the post especially.

    My list of other skills I’d like to learn/improve on gets longer- improve my knitting, learn to crochet, make a basket, do more garden willow weaving, flower arranging, soap making, (beeswax) candle making…
    Not sure I’m going to have time to do all those!

    • Ariana Mullins January 15, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

      Hazel, did you have your pottery lesson yet? Was it mostly hand building, or did you get on the wheel as well? I love your list of things to work on this year– love all of those traditional crafts. I’d love to learn basket weaving– so useful!

    • Hazel January 23, 2013 at 11:55 am #

      No, not yet. We’re waiting until DH can drive again (he hasn’t been able to drive for the last year- health not criminal reasons!! 3 1/2 weeks to go…) so that we can all go to Eastnor for the weekend and he and the other 2 children can go out for the day after dropping us off at the pottery.
      It will be on the wheel though- Connie was very specific about what pottery she wanted to do!

  8. Nikki Wall February 3, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

    I’m having a sporadic catch up – as life has been rather busy and I haven’t had as much time to spend reading the blogs I enjoy – but didn’t want to read and run without saying how lovely I think your pots are 🙂

    This year I would like to learn how to watercolour rather better than I can (or rather can’t 😉 ) I keep saying I will practice sewing with a machine more (but I’ve been saying that for the last couple of years!)

    Everything is punctuated by small baby atm, so I have to work around her.

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