Thursday, 9 October 2008

Ceramics - Class Two, and Drawing and Painting - Class Three

Monday was my second clay class. There were less people this week, and the atmosphere was much more relaxed. That's not to say that it was more relaxed because there were less people, but it just was. The tutor seemed more friendly this time and we even had a bit of a laugh with him, pulling his leg about being so grumpy the week before and scaring all the students away!

Because I have used clay before, I expected too much of myself too soon last week and put myself under unnecessary pressure. I thought the course would just be a way of gaining access to a working area and a kiln. The tutor is flexible and offers tutorials to those who need it, but allows those who are confident enough to do their own thing. I have now decided that I will follow the 10 week course to give myself a foundation, and then move on to developing my own ideas when I re-enrol. This week we were making coil built pots. Amazingly, even with my prior experience with clay, I have never made a coil pot before!

I was a little obsessed with getting the surface as smooth as possible, which is probably why this one simple pot took me nearly a whole lesson, when the girl next to me made two!

I tried to smooth the inside as much as I could as well.

And then when I looked at my precious little pot from a distance I noticed how wonky it was! I have to keep reminding myself that it's my first pot ever. (Perfectionism is only a good thing if you can produce items which are perfect!)

Next week we will be slab building, and hopefully I will also have the time to decorate this pot with sgraffito! I can't wait! And the excitement kept me awake all night!

Tuesday was my third drawing class. This week we had to draw a glass of water but I was so tired from the lack of sleep the night before that I just couldn't concentrate. It took me half the lesson just to draw the outline! After that I decided to just go for it and tried to draw quickly to produce something more "sketchy". As you can see, I can't really do "sketchy", but it is a style I admire.

The tutor pointed out that the highlights on the water should have been more curved. I was using a pencil eraser to add some of the highlights, but I found it didn't really get the paper white enough. Also, because of the pressure that needs to be applied, I found there was a loss of control over which areas were erased. Hopefully I'll learn to use it more effectively in time, or I might invest in a battery operated eraser which spins very fast and works better apparently!

Mostly I am enjoying the journey I am on and I look forward to developing my skills, but sometimes, like tonight, I can't help dwelling on the 20 years that I have wasted, especially when it comes to ceramics. Twenty years is more than half of my life. Imagine how experienced I would be now if I didn't give up. But then, did I have a choice? When I think about it, I wouldn't have been able to go to college even if I had been accepted. I had already left home and would have had no way to support myself financially. I wish I had taken evening classes though. I really really wish I had taken evening classes.

On a more positive note, the woman in the background of the top photo is a very frail elderly woman! Isn't that fantastic? It just shows that we are never too old and it is never too late to learn anything. I need to remember that.


Kari Gibson said...

Lovely coil pots - they are so charming in themselves - who cares if you think they are a bit wonky?

The drawing looks great, another way to make the lights look lighter is by making the darks look darker - a softer pencil, like a 4b or softer, would be nice and dark.

And don't worry about what you think are "wasted" 20 years. Your own life experiences will add weight to your current work, a maturity that your younger self didn't have. So just enjoy the now and have fun!

Kathy L said...

Oh Undaunted, Kari is so riht. You are bringing a maturity to your art now that you did not have 20 yrs aao. Not only that...your art is taken more seriously. I think your pot is so cool, wonky and all (I like that word). The glass filled with water is something I have never attempted because of the reflection thing. I think yours looks pretty good!


Undaunted said...

Thank you for your encouraging wards Kari and Kathy.

Re: the wonky pot - I shall just have to tell people it's supposed to be like that!

Kari, I think the drawings appear paler than they are in the photographs as I did use a 6b drawing stick. But thank you for the suggestion, I will remember that in future.

Kathy, when I fist sat down and looked at the glass I panicked and just didn't know where to start! But I just tried to look at one area at a time and focus on that, which made it easier. If only I wasn't so tired that night!

cynthia said...

I love that you're investing in yourself by taking all these art classes!

I'm glad to hear that you had a better experience in clay class this week.

I think the beauty of hand built pots is that they're well, hand built. The touch of the maker is very important - and if I want perfection, I'll buy a factory made piece. Coil and pinch pots should be wonky - that's their beauty!

I love that art has no age limit too. :)

Undaunted said...

Thank you Cynthia :) I don't think I've ever done anything really just for me before, and it's a great feeling!

What you say about the touch of the maker is very true. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.