This last Friday I went with my wife to a new ceramics course that opened in our village. I was always curious to working with other materials. Wood is obviously my favorite, it has character and warmth and nobody can deny that it is alive...
My wife wants a salad bowl, I don't have a lathe large enough for that, and anyways she likes the clay ones better - so she decided to join the course so she could make one, I tagged along to see if it would be as fun. Clay is interesting to work with, this course is focused on hand work and not on working with a wheel (naturally I'm more interested in working with a wheel, so I was a bit disappointed, but the teacher said that if we really wanted she could bring a wheel to the next lesson, I'm waiting.). She taught us two techniques that she uses to create pottery. and then we each got 10 pounds of clay and were told to get wild with it... do what we want and express ourselves.
As could be expected everyone started making some sort of a round bowl, I decided to go square, in wood turning I always work in the round (even if creating eccentrics or therming, you always do a stage in the round), I thought it would make an interesting change. As we worked along the teacher focused us on some of the pitfalls of pottery which all center on the transformation of the wet clay in the oven into the finished product - air pockets, support and air pockets again... I had a good time, and I will continue for awhile, hopping she does bring the wheel next time.
My first conclusions? clay is very nice, the process is so different than woodworking (turning / carving whatever) if only for the fact that you can add material to the work at any time, and you don't need to worry about matching grain :-)
I also understood even more clearly why people use clay as model material, it is so much better to envision in 3D than in 2D (a sketch or computer screen). Even if I don't continue for long, I think I will always have a few pounds of clay tucked somewhere cool for playing with...
Here are some pictures from the first lesson:
My square thingy (will probably hold some keys, if survives the oven)
Square thingy again (different angle)
My wife's first bowl (Actually it's going to be a flower pot)
Some other creations of the other participants: