So I’ve been doing pottery for almost a year and 9 months now at an Adult Education center every Wednesday. There are a few things that I have learnt and really wish somebody had told me these things. I have recently stopped going to the Adult education center as my granddad (after seeing my pottery) when out and bought a wheel which means I can throw when ever I like and what ever I like.
Top tip number 1:
You will get messy, and I know that sounds really obvious but its so true. When hand building you can guarantee that you will stay fairly untouched by clay but by the time you get round to throwing on the wheel you will be smothered. It’ll be in your hair, eyebrows, up your nose over your trousers and shoes. Etc.
Top tip number 2:
Centering your clay on the wheel is not as easy as it looks, They make it look so simple on The Great British Throw-down. On that show (where a lot of people become inspired to pick up the art form)They make it look like you just push it down into the wheel and then pull it up. When in reality you have to push it at a certain angle, and then with the other hand push back but make sure your arms are locked and blah blah blah… hard work. The more clay you use, the hard it is to push down. I still struggle every now and then!
Top tip number 3:
It takes a long time before you can produce something worth while. When hand building it can take a short amount of time and you can produce a beautiful tile or shallow bowl, But when it comes to throwing, its taken me this long to be able to final produce things that are half decent and aren’t on the wonk!
Top tip number 4:
While buying a potters wheel once you have decided that’s what you want to do, you have to remember its like buying a car. Where on a used car the clutch may have been worn down, on a wheel has the same sort of thing but with a cone. Be aware of that when buying one! Because when you push the peddle down and there is no difference between foot on full and lightly pressing it can become REALLY infuriating!
Top tip number 5:
Raku firing is Super fun but unreliable. The thing about glazing your pots, this can come out utterly beautiful, or come out looking like sludge on a pot. Unfortunately its not always something you can control. Depending on the temperature and other stuff ( We always had a technician at the center) your glaze and what you thought would be blue, might come out half blue and half white… or what ever. The same happened on Raku, because the clay is under such immense heat and then being immediately cooled by water sprays, it can cause cracking, and the glaze will not turn out the way you want.
This sums up the tips i have for Pottery for utter beginners, I know a lot of it sounds very obvious, these are things i didn’t think through when i started. Yes, i did think about them, but i didn’t realise the extent of them. But i will push anybody who wants to do pottery to just go to a day class and try it, you might love it, or you might find you hate having clay under your nails! Just give it a go, i LOVE IT, and its one of the few things i’ve found that im good at…Just need to keep going!