Thursday, June 19, 2014

Summer has come to town

 with his bags packed and a do not disturb sign on the door.
He brings with him his good friends heat and humidity who are those guys that put their feet on the furniture, empty the  refrigerator, drink all your beer and then stay up late.

We all remember the winter and the promise of no complaints about the summer heat...can we keep that promise? We do love to complain about the weather.

Mark and I have decided to work on more of the carved vases. I have at least a dozen in the drying stages. We are trying some in the red clay body that I use for tiles. Those I plan to glaze pretty much as I would a tile. I am looking forward to seeing the results.
Then I have 4 that I worked on yesterday in a white stoneware, B-mix, that are going in the gas kiln. More thought into glazing those...
The last round all went through the gas kiln with pretty good results. I have a few things to play with in my mind, when they are fired I will bring them back for review.
 The summer teaching continues as I watch the growth that is coming with the students. It is amazing to watch that moment of  the light blub.
Ah, sweet rewards.
I am seeing some real results. I have tried to build skills in them and take them to another level in their throwing. Last week it was exciting to watch as the bowls rolled out of their hands one after another. The other thing that pleases me is the ability to look at the pots at the end of the week and have then decide what they are keeping and what goes back in the slop bucket. They are doing what I think all good production potters do; they are learning skill and an eye to what is a good pot. Rather than the motto of; just good enough.

Goals, never be 100% satisfied, can you do it better?

I'm working hard to help, step back, but only be a step away when needed. I am also working on flow,as in, when to make something when you only have 3 days of class and a very efficient air condition system.  How to cover and treat the thrown pots since the air can dry them out overnight. I am amazed at the amount of plastic grocery bags and have hunted down bigger sheets of heavy plastic to make damp boxes out of carts using clothes pins.
 Teaching making is only one step to learn, teaching the students how to handle the wet and dry is harder. Teaching what has become second nature makes me think about how incorporated clay becomes in our lives. The question of how long did it take you to make that always takes me back. The making, throwing of the piece, might not take all that long once you master the skills, but those countless hours that it took you to get there are hard to explain to a person.

There is a point where potters make their work look effortless, it is from a dedication to the clay and what they want the clay to do. Sure we all make a pot once in awhile that we look back on and say, what was I thinking, where was I going...?
And, we all start somewhere.




Work calls,
M

18 comments:

Tracey Broome said...

Seems we were just saying how cold we all were, haha! Those students are so fortunate to have you, what wisdom you can pass on, great rewards in that for all of you! Wish I was taking that course:-)

Linda Starr said...

Love the iris cup.

angela walford said...

go large M lovely to see a change in production and teachin...yu da master ...enjoy

cookingwithgas said...

thanks TB- come on over and sign up- they have great air and clay!
Thanks Linda!

cookingwithgas said...

ang--- you so sweet! Cheers mate!

Anna M. Branner said...

Those are definitely lucky students to be learning all the angles. :) And yes, Summer is here too this week though Greg just told me it is temporary and we will have 80s again by the weekend. Fingers crossed! (And yea, I made that no complaining promise too....)

Gary's third pottery blog said...

that is a tremendous teapot, oh MY!

Michèle Hastings said...

I love the new cups! Look forward to seeing what else springs forward with the new deco. Also curious to see what you do for glazes with the b-mix. I really like b-mix for wood firing. I haven't been been excited with how our glazes look on it in the gas kiln. The other draw back is it's a lot more expensive here in NC than in New England. But it sure does throw nicely!

B. Rogers, Living in Black Mountain said...

Beautiful pottery, form as well as great decorations. You remind me of past events, learning how, learning how I don't yet know how, learning how again, as well as weather complaints. You must be a good teacher! (I hate doing word verification, which is why I seldom comment, but I'm reading your blog whenever you post!)

cookingwithgas said...

Thanks for reading!
And the lovely feedback.


I know what you mean about word verification, it can be such a bother!

Dennis Allen said...

Sounds like the teaching is right on track. When I was teaching, the hardest part was knowing when to shut my mouth and stick my hands in my pockets.

Judy Shreve said...

I love the toastiness behind those iris on that first vase! Rich and lovely.

Bob keeps telling me I can acclimate to the heat - I don't try and acclimate to the snow . . . just saying.

And what lucky students - you are just teaching them how to throw a bowl - but how to be a potter.

Claudia from Idiot's Kitchen said...

Oh how I long to take a pottery class! Love your description of summer putting it's feet up and drinking all the beer!

cookingwithgas said...

Dennis, truth!
Judy, thinking about you today.
Claudia, come I'll teach you to make pots while you cook...

Sandy miller said...

Ahhhhh yes, the weather! The heat, humidity, no air conditioning, sweat running into your glasses so you can't see a bloody thing and your eyes burn .......... but who's complaining?

Great post, this teaching thing is blowing my mind. After being turned down for more jobs than I can count over the past three years. Last Monday I sat down to teach bowl making and had the revelation, I DO have skills and am a patient teacher. By the end of class when there were three bowls on the shelf and I watched a woman skip to her car...... and I skipped to the house, it's good.

Solstice and fall will be here before you know it!

Lori Buff said...

Those vases look perfect for summer flowers.

It's nice to never be 100% satisfied, it makes you stretch and grow reaching for something more from yourself.

cookingwithgas said...

Sandy, we do have skills, off skills, but they are marketable if one is willing. Skipping is good.

cookingwithgas said...

Yes, keep reaching.