made by yours truly!
You may remember in my birthday post, my craft group friends gifted to me a one-hour pottery lesson. This is the result!
These are my vessels – yes, vessels, that is the term you have to use – it sounds very arty and creative to my ears. Don’t dare call them cups or little pots, these are works of art crafted by my very own hands, glazed with love!
What a fun lesson! Milland Pottery is located in the South Downs National Park, an absolutely stunning rural location. I knew I was in for a treat, even if I just sat at the wheel and stared out at the Downs for an hour!
But soon I was turning red earthenware clay on the wheel, guided by the expert ceramicist’s hands:
Here she is at the wheel, helping to centre my
vessel. I honestly thought I’d just have a go at the wheel, make a big mess,
then go home. But oh no! I got to play with the clay, using lots of water and
adjusting the spinning rate of the wheel. I learned how to centre the clay so
that I could push my thumb in and make an actual shape. Within that very hour I
had crafted not one but two pieces!
The feel of the clay as it thinned and grew in my hands was wonderful. This was a very tactile experience; I could feel where I used too much pressure, where I needed to be firmer with the clay – you can “read” a piece of pottery by looking at the sides. Of course experts have those beautiful, smooth sides, and I have a new-found, extreme appreciation for this art.
I love the little rounded one, I hadn’t intended for it to take that shape, but the clay had its own ideas...
I went back the following week to glaze my little earthenware babies. I looked around the pottery, admiring the various colours and techniques, and decided to do one in a two-colour brushed glaze, and the other with a soft aqua interior and cobalt exterior.
The brushed glaze is created with a very delicate touch of a glaze-laden brush onto the spinning pot:
|Somehow these chalky whites and pale green glazes transform into gorgeous blues and vivid greens when fired...|
I carefully applied the soft aqua glaze inside the other pot, then was ready to dip-glaze the exterior. This is done by holding the pot upside-down and dunking it very swiftly into a big bucket of blue glaze.
All well and good, until my index finger instinctively reached into the pot to steady it, because it felt unnatural to invert a delicate clay vessel and plunge it into a bucket of thick goo.
So I had one big blue dot inside my little work of art. Ugh. I thought I’d have to make childish polka dots all around the inside of the piece and make excuses about my inexperience.
But my instructor had better ideas, which is why I find lessons in arts and crafts so invaluable – personal experiences and tips that really make a difference in how a skill is learned! She suggested I dip my hand in the glaze and flick it inside the pot, making a splattered appearance. This would look much more intentional, and less like a mistake...
This was a wonderful experience, and one I definitely will repeat. There is so much more I want to do, to try and to make! In fact, we celebrated another craft group’s birthday by giving her the same voucher, and I have a feeling we’ll have one of our monthly sessions at the pottery soon...