Thursday, December 29, 2005

Quieter than Quiet Time

Its raining. Stephanie says that, at school, everything seems quieter when its raining, including Quiet Time.

Yesterday morning I trimmed the last raku vase, and Stephanie joined me in the studio for a throwing lesson. She had thrown with success before, using a tabletop potter's wheel that Julie had found on eBay (with a wonky pedal that essentially had two speeds, off and full throttle.) For her first time with a real wheel, she did okay.

For her first two cylinders, you can see progress being made. She then asked to 'play' with a piece of clay on the wheel. After the first minute or so, I had to force my self to stop watching; she was playing, not seriously trying, and everything that she did was wrong for throwing a piece. A few times (like when she grabbed the clay with both hands so tightly that it sheared off the wheel) I intervened to get her over a frustrating moment, and explain why what she was doing was not going to be productive. We chatted about the history of potter's wheels, which go back something like four thousand years. I imagine that there have always been times over that history when a student starts playing around, and the master needs to look away. I also imagine that new techniques are developed by someone 'playing around', and not following cannon clay techniques.

We closed out the session with covering the wheel head with slip from the splash pan, and then drawing patterns as the wheel turns. Mainly single and double spirals, but also concentric circles, too.

The mess in the studio was horrific, especially when I missed that one half of the splash pan was up to the connecting tabs with slippy water. It spilled over the wheel and floor when I pulled it apart to clean it.

Julie unloaded the bisque kiln yesterday. It was loaded about a quarter of the way with ware.

Today I must mix glazes.


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