Every year, Herb has fun by pretending to have gotten me something really crazy for Christmas and telling me not to look or go into the garage. This year, for a while it was a bird that he had to go out and feed. Then he finally told me he had gotten me a potter’s wheel. A new ploy to throw me off by really telling the truth, but because that has been the previous years’ story, I didn’t believe him.
For 30 years, I have wanted a potter’s wheel and this year for Christmas, Herb was able to find a used one on Craig’s List to get me for Christmas. The photos here were taken in the pottery studio at Berea College in, probably 1978, where I was in the apprenticeship program for a couple of years. Ironically, I decided that I didn’t like doing production and became a TA for the remaining two years. I now do work that requires major productions of printed items.
So I have had visions of pottery pieces dancing in my head for several days now. I was actually able to throw a pot on Christmas day and out of 5 balls of clay I kneaded up, only one didn’t make it off the wheel. It got two soft and wobbly and collapsed. Another made it off the wheel but was dislodged as I was trimming the bottom, so I now have some practicing to do. Looking to the web for inspiration, I first went to my college pal, Steven Sommerville’s site because he has such awesome work. And then I went to WordPress to try to find some blogs of potters that I could use as inspiration. I went to Etsy but I am not really impressed with the quality of the pots that I found there. Nothing I really want to try to emulate for now.
I want to develop my own style and I am not sure where that will take me yet. I think first I will just throw some shapes and see how it evolves. Vases, salt cellars, functional, non-functional, mugs, bowls, plates, planters. There are just too many ideas out there. It felt good to get my hands back in the mud though. Herb said he remembers me with muddy handprints on the butt of my jeans and generally looking like a walking mudpie. I never seemed to wear an apron and my clothes were the place to wipe my dirty hands. You could tell by walking around on campus who worked in the pottery because we all had dirty clothes on. I think we were known as mud dobbers.
I’ll keep you posted but I’m definitely not taking any orders yet. And, I am trying to stay a little cleaner these days.