Sunday, 18 January 2009

Back to Class

Yes, as previously mentioned I went back to class last Monday, with a new tutor. There are some things that are better in this class and some things that are not so good, but so far the tutor seems friendly and willing to help, which is the most important thing.

The first thing I noticed when I walked into the class was the large selection of glazes! There is a wide variety of colours, compared to just six at my last class. Also, there is more than one clay to choose from to work with! Sounds good eh? One of the things that is not so good, although not a major issue, is the fact that there is no machine to make our coils, so I'll be getting lots of practice at rolling my own! The other thing is that the whirlers are old and crusty, and don't turn very well, whereas they were new at my old class.

This new tutor fires at a lower temperature than the tutor at my old class - about 1180 C rather than 1220 C - which he said means my work would be classed as earthenware rather than stoneware, even though I'm using stoneware clay. I understand what he's saying about the clay not fully melting, but I'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing. I know this will mean that my pieces won't be water tight, but will my Mum still be able to use her mug once it's glazed?

What I found amusing was that after explaining a little about the glazes they use at this class, the tutor said something like "you wouldn't have known that because you've only done a 10 week course". He wasn't patronising at all, but I just found it slightly amusing because if truth be told, there are a lot of things that I wouldn't know if I had only depended on the information given by my last tutor! But, thanks to the wonderful potters I communicate with online, and additional reading I have done, I know a little more than I would have done, and I have read about some of the glazes they have.

One thing I noticed a big difference in was the kind of work that was produced by the students. In my last class it seemed that everyone made vases, bowls, and door plaques. In this class the students work is much more sculptural in nature. Since that is the direction I would like to go in, I feel I may fit in better here. I just don't want to stand out and draw attention to myself, which I think may have become a problem in my old class simply because my pieces are so different from everyone else's.

In saying that, although I have lots of ideas for sculptural projects to work on at home, when it comes to class my mind goes completely blank! So on Monday I started making... a vase!! I thought I would try to make a large-ish vase so that I have lots of surface area to try some more sgraffito - then I found out that this class doesn't have any coloured slips! But the tutor said he would order some and even asked me what colour I would like! See what I mean about being friendly and helpful? I think I'm going to like this class!

The wheels are completely different to the ones at the previous class, so at some point I shall have to try them out, although to be honest I've lost interest in throwing at the moment.

In other news

Anita's drawing and painting class also started again last week, but I had to take a trip to my old class to collect these unglazed pieces.

One student commented that she hoped she could produce pieces like these one day, which was a great compliment but slightly embarrassing once we realised we had been taking classes for the same length of time. I put it down to my great online tutors!

And a niece and nephew of mine stayed over on Friday night and we did some claying together (in-between watching three musicals! Yes, three!!) Asriel started making a coil built cup, but got bored had a better idea and left that to make something else. He wrote "Made in China" on the inside with a smiley face!

The something else was a masked cartoon character on a hover board, which sadly came apart a little once it had dried, so Asriel decided to finish it off!

And Mariah decided to make an African tribal mask, which I think is fantastic!


Kathy L said...


I loved the pieces that you did not finish from the first class. You do have a knack for this and don't give yourself enough credit for all that you have learned. I am so impressed!

Undaunted said...

Thank you so much Kathy! I don't really know what to say to that!

I do believe in myself now, more than I ever did before, and I believe I have a natural talent. But I don't want to be over confident and become a big head! I'm aware that I still have a lot to learn and I am grateful to those bloggers who have really helped and encouraged me - they have made a huge difference to my progress.

painter girl said...

Love the new pieces. Wow!
And glad that your new tutor is interested in helping you.
We can talk about the earthenware vs stoneware on skype or email. I'll be glad to explain.
YAY! For new tutors that want to help and offer to order you slip! Mybe you can convince them to get you one of those small slip trailers while they are at it?

Undaunted said...

Thank you Leanne! Those pieces are the ivy vase I made at class and the mug I made at home for my Mum, bisque fired. I'm so glad that I can glaze with better colours now!

That's a good idea about the slip trailer. I'll have to ask them if they have one or not.

Thank you for explaining so much to me!

painter girl said...

Hey Linda!
You have received another award!
Come and see it!

Undaunted said...

Oh wow! Thank you so much! I am truly honoured! :)