Posts made in February, 2011

Pocosin Arts Workshop

Posted by on Feb 25, 2011 in Bowls, Mugs, Uncategorized, Workshop | 0 comments

Here are some pictures of the pots we made at the workshop, Scratching the...

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Scratching the Surface

Posted by on Feb 21, 2011 in Class, Glazes, Workshop | 0 comments

Pocosin Arts hosts an annual artist workshop in February which I attended this weekend.  It is a great event – close to home, in a beautiful venue, with excellent instruction. This year the pottery instructor was Ronan Peterson who taught ‘Scratching the Surface’.  His work has distinctive and complex surfaces that result from a convoluted process of slipping, waxing, and glazing. I had a great time in his class – he had limitless enthusiasm and patience as he fielded questions, gave examples, and moved us through his agenda.  The workshop was a survey of surface treatments and he was able to offer tangible examples for application because he uses so many of the techniques in his own work.  For those few techniques that he doesn’t use or didn’t have examples of, he referenced other contemporary potters – WOW he knows contemporary potters! I came away with a head-full of things that I want to try (and share with the pottery class).  It was a well-timed workshop as I have been feeling that our pots are a bit flat.  We worked hard developing our glazes but now it is time for us to add another layer of interest.  Ronan and Theresa (his studio assistant) were very helpful in offering suggestions about how to go about doing that.  I feel like Ronan has a lot more to offer and I wouldn’t hesitate to take another workshop with...

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How to take a pottery workshop

Posted by on Feb 19, 2011 in About Me, Class, How-to, Workshop | 0 comments

For several years I took pottery classes at local pottery studios.  However, when no classes were available, I looked elsewhere for instruction.  As a result, I  began to attend pottery workshops. Workshops provide a great opportunity to see different techniques, try new tools, and meet other potters.  And, as I participated in more of them, I began to learn how to get the most out of them. Here are my recommendations on how to take a pottery workshop: Be open – it isn’t right, it isn’t wrong, it’s just different Be humble – you can’t learn what you already know Don’t monopolize the conversation – you came with that info and you will leave with that info if no one else is sharing You don’t have to know it all or share all you know Try to learn all that you can – worry about whether it is your ‘style’ later Take notes and take pictures Do as many of the projects as you can – these are 3-D notes for you to take home with you Do as many of the projects as you can – because you won’t make time to try them at home (don’t believe the lie) Don’t worry about how well you throw or don’t throw – it will distract you from working at your best Enjoy the diversity of the other pots and allow them to inspire you rather than intimidate you If possible, purchase a pot from the instructor – it is the best example you can take...

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Instructor and student

Posted by on Feb 16, 2011 in About Me, Class, Spring Snow, Teaching, Workshop | 0 comments

While I was getting ready to go to a pottery workshop, I was thinking about all the opportunities that I have had to be in the instructor role.  This weekend, I am looking forward to being a student. I have had many teaching opportunities – community college instructor, pottery instructor, bible study leader, manager.  I have taught a lot of people a diversity of subjects.  I enjoy teaching but I’ve noticed that it is difficult for adults to be put into situations where they don’t know anything.  As adults, we usually have a frame of reference to which we cling that will give us some sense of competence.  To that end, it is difficult for adults to learn because learning requires humility. What I have realized from these observations is that in order to learn new things, I have to accept where I am.  I can’t get hung up about what I ‘should know’ or that it ‘should be easier’.  And, I need to ignore the discomfort of not knowing in order to allow myself to learn.  I can’t learn what I already know. None of these observations are new – in fact Proverbs is clear that a mark of wisdom is teach-ability.  “Hear instruction, be wise, and refuse it not.” Proverbs...

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Homemade meals, homemade pots

Posted by on Feb 10, 2011 in Bowls, Dinnerware, Plates, Spring Snow | 0 comments

“Two other fashions (read: plagues) I’d like to see go away this year are the omnipresence of white plates (someone please have mercy) and cheap, uncomfortable restaurant chairs.  I’d give anything to walk into a restaurant with rich, dark, plush furnishings that make you want to sit in them for hours and eat off some china with a bit of personality.”     – Laura Calder (Cookbook author) Finally!  Some one who agrees with me! White plates may be great for photographs but they do little for the dining experience. I really like to cook and I love to feed people.  And, since I have been potting, I really enjoy using handmade pottery because it enhances the entire meal.  True foodies (which I am not because I occasionally use minced garlic from a jar) prefer white dishes to showcase the food.  But, there is so much soulfulness in handmade dishware; it seems a befitting honor for a well-made meal to be served on a one-of-a-kind...

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