Friday, May 30, 2014


 I have found that learning is a two way street, it is full of give and take. You give when you teach but you also bring back nuggets from the students.
My first couple of days with the students are off to a good start.
I had time to sit down with them and talk, evaluate skills and set goals for the summer.
I have two working on their dinnerware sets.
I ask them to come up with 3 plates, 2 eating bowls and 2 vessels for drinking.
We are well on our way through small plates.

I have an independent for the summer who is there to develop skills, he is a fast learner who is working on taking a cylinder to another level. We are working on form, function and moving the clay up.

Clay is such an individual beast for us all.
I let them all know I am there for skills, what you do with it after is up to you.
It is a long, but, so far, rewarding day.

Mark is doing well holding things down here while I am gone.
It is interesting to come in around 5 and ask," how was your day?"
We don't have any contact from the time I leave until I am coming home.
The drive there and back leaves me time for reflection and slow drivers.

As a production pottery I well remember the struggle that it took to become more prolific in my throwing, there is a point that you just do it without thought. I find that showing the students is the easiest way to talk them through the process of how to achieve the end result.

The school clay is a well formed body that throws nicely. It is a far cry from our days there with the clay of the day. This stuff is creamy and smooth. I am planning to throw a bit each week while I am there so that the students learn just from watching. This was something Mark and I would do with the older potters in the area.
When we were working on a shape or item there were times would would just go find a quiet corner in the potter's work area and watch.

Time to move on-there are things to do.


Michèle Hastings said...

I agree with you about watching and learning. Every so often I still like to just stand there and watch Jeff throw pots. Sometimes I can pick up little nuances that help me when I get back to the wheel. We are always learning!

Tracey Broome said...

You have so much to give these students, they are very lucky! I have had so many great teachers over the years, I still hear their voices in my head when I make something. Then when you teach, it's amazing how much your students actually teach you. It's great that you have that drive, my favorite way to think things through is a long drive through the country.

Lori Buff said...

I love watching a good potter throw, to me it's like watching a dancer dance and then yes, sometimes the magic of learning happens and it's even better.

I like what you wrote about teaching skills, I may steal that line,

Dennis Allen said...

Lucky students. Absolutely skills first! I see way too many heavily decorated pots with bad handles, lids that don't fit and bad proportions. Might as well put glitter on a pig.

Linda Starr said...

one of the things I like best about clay is that you never know everything there is to know, there is always something to learn, how far a drive do you have?

Peter said...

Love the runny glazes! Those are lucky students being able to learn from you. Wish the Community College at Troy NC was near here!

Gary's third pottery blog said...

I bet you are double busy, hmm? teaching plus still working at home!

cookingwithgas said...

Glitter on a pig......;)

You all come to troy and we'll all make pots.

Sandy miller said...

me thinks you have very lucky students! Over the years I found teaching and learning to be an upward spiral....... I always walk away with something and hope they do to. If nothing else it makes me look at my work from a different perspective.

Pots look good!

Had an old teacher tell me years ago...... Keep moving, it's hard to hit a moving target :)

Claudia from Idiot's Kitchen said...

I imagine you are a great teacher. It's on my bucket list to take some pottery classes.