Posts made in January, 2011

What’s Your Number?

Posted by on Jan 31, 2011 in Bowls, Pottery, Throwing, Uncategorized | 2 comments

In order to make good pottery, you have to make A LOT of pottery.  Everyone has a number, i.e. the quantity of any given pot you need to make in order to make the pot that you want.  In the beginning, you have a lot of basic skills to practice: centering, opening, and pulling.  After the basics are accomplished, then you work on making your pottery distinctive.  I call it ‘finding your clay voice’.  This number seems to be infinity.  It is on-going and ever-changing.  As a non-artist, I was really surprised to find out that artists rework ideas and themes.  They don’t ‘just’ make their masterpiece.  I have hope!  Art can be made methodically through trials and with progressive...

Read More

Multiples – overcoming fear

Posted by on Jan 28, 2011 in About Me, Mugs, Throwing, Uncategorized | 0 comments

When I began making pottery, it didn’t take long for me to realize that I needed to make a pot several times before I learned to make the pot.  At first, I made multiples to improve.  It was like shooting free throws – the only way to improve was doing it over and over.  Doing it over again was important but doing over again immediately was vital.  If I let too much time pass between pots, then I realized I lost a little something I had learned and making the pot felt as challenging as it initially had.  The learning curve was steeper when there was more time between pots.  In order to reduce the learning curve, I gave myself a 50-mug project.  (An idea I stole from the “500 Cups” book.) I began learning to throw because I wanted to make teapots and mugs; but, for a long time I avoided them because they required handles.  Handles were a challenge and I claimed I didn’t like to make them.  But the truth was, I was afraid of making bad handles. I needed to know how to make a good handle before I could judge whether I liked making handles.  If I made 50, surely I would figure it out.  I did.  And, I don’t hate handles.  Sometimes fear of failure is expressed as dislike but really it is just fear of failure.  The initial 50 mugs helped me get past the handle fear.  Now, I love to make mugs.  I can make a good handle; and, occasionally I make a bad one.  But, now, I know the difference and I refuse to...

Read More

It’s Resolution Season!

Posted by on Jan 26, 2011 in Bowls, Class, Selling Pottery, Throwing, Uncategorized | 0 comments

I am a Resolutionist.  I can’t help it.  Numbers are very motivational for me.  And, a new year just plays into my already heightened enthusiasm.  So in a brave, new approach, I am sharing some of my 2011 Pottery Resolutions. Better Pots: The general focus for 2011 will be continued practice and refinement.  We have sales outlets that will allow us to make a lot of pots this year.  I like making pots and feel that there are several pot details that I want to improve.  So, in order to make better and more interesting pots, I intend to be purposeful and mindful when throwing pots throughout the year. Improve Classes: I also want to improve class instruction and bring more interesting projects to the ceramics class.  I have begun to work on this goal by developing several class themes and can’t wait to share them. Healthier: I also want to me more conscientious of my back, neck, and sinuses.  I plan to work in pottery for a long time so I need to change how I sit, hold my shoulders, and wear a mask. Photography:  I have seen some great photos on other blogs and they have encouraged me to improve my skills.  I want to take better pictures of pots and other things that inspire me .  My generous mother loaned me her camera indefinitely and I have begun to work with it. Drawing:  Last year, I took a basic drawing class at Emerge.  It was helpful and I felt like a real artist when I used charcoal.  I have a book that I want to work through to prepare for a pottery workshop in August. Blog:  I think 2 entries a week will keep the website from feeling stagnant.  The blog is still a challenge.  I strive to be transparent, genuine, and discrete. I am looking forward to all that 2011 has in...

Read More

2010 Resolution Reviewed

Posted by on Jan 21, 2011 in About Me, Throwing, Uncategorized | 1 comment

One of my resolutions for 2010 was to stop saying, “good enough”. In a previous lifetime, I was a frustrated perfectionist; and, in an attempt to bring a modicum of balance to my obsessive approach to life, I had begun saying “good enough”.  However, for me, this wasn’t the anecdote to perfectionism; instead, it became a harbinger of laziness.  I realized that whenever I settled for “good enough”, I was shirking off work that I knew should be done in order to make it “good”.  If something is good – it is good, not perfect.  It is good, sufficient, and satisfying.  That is, the appropriate amount of effort, energy, and time have been spent to get the job done.  And, this is the standard of excellence.  Although there is no such thing as perfect, there is excellent. I don’t want some one to look at a pot that I have made and say ‘good enough’.  Good pots require work.  There are layers of details in the process of making a pot; and, if I pay attention to those details along the way rather than passing over them because ‘it is good enough’, then I will have made a well-thrown pot.  Details such as smoothing bottoms, wiping rims, burnishing trim lines, etc. take effort, energy, and time. I think I was successful with the 2010 resolution because it has become more habitual to consider whether I am working to a standard of excellence, laziness, or perfectionism; and, then I try to adjust. Excellence is a high standard and it is easy to skimp.  But, I am called to live excellently: And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him (Colossians 3:17).  I want to have the peace of knowing that I am living in a way that pleases the Lord in whatever I am doing – pottery, friendships, work, or service.  And, for me, this can’t be achieved by neurotically chasing perfection or settling for ‘good...

Read More

New Year – Renewed Studio

Posted by on Jan 17, 2011 in Sous-potter, Studio, Uncategorized, Wheel | 0 comments

In the course of  preparing for 2011, Firetower Studio West received a face lift.  After working in the garage for the last 6 months, we realized that we weren’t using the space efficiently.  Maneuvering around tables, glaze buckets, and each other had become tiresome.  So the first priority was to open up the space and the second priority was to define work areas. We added a new overhead light (thanks to Julie’s brother-in-law), a new storage shelf, and a new table.  The table was custom built by Sous-Potter Jeff and is everything we asked for: sturdy, wide, and tall.  He even installed a half shelf for glaze storage… genius sous-potter.  We will cover it with 2 layers of canvas and then begin wedging the massive amount of clay that we’ve reclaimed.  Anyone want a bicep/tricep workout? We gave everything a good cleaning and have been getting back to work slowly.  We began by throwing and firing bowls for the dinnerware set.   Today, the kiln can be opened and the glazed mugs and covered jars will be unloaded.  And, this week, we will begin glazing dinnerware and finish setting goals for A Bit Off...

Read More