Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Beatrix Potter: A Warren Tales Adventure In Ceramics

Since September, I have been happily participating in a community pottery class, for beginners. This is my first foray into the ceramic arts, and I have found it aptly challenging and exhilarating.

The fact that this is really only my first time working with clay (with the exception of my preschool masterpiece that continues to parade it's elegantly subjective "mouse" shape on my parents' mantle) surprised me, considering my love for all things that involve using my hands and making a mess. When I took a moment to think back to art opportunities offered at my high school, however, I blurrily recalled a 6:30am "E-Period" schedule. . . . And so, art was defeated by the only thing I love more: sleep. Alas (and alack).

When I first stepped into class (after shrinking into the wall with my uncharacteristic, and yet usual "first day" jitters), I thought we were going to be making pinch pots for the first month, while we aligned our subliminal Mr. Miyagi training. But after no more than about 5 minutes of clay-doodling (see above for my spiral cone, AKA bee hive/snail shell amalgamation), our delightfully lackadaisical teacher--who much more accurately embodies Tony Hale, circa his guest-bit character on an episode of Community, as Jeff's pottery instructor (S01E19)--sent us to the mercy of the ever-judgmental wheel! He quickly taught us how to correctly knead our globs of clay in order to follow the counter-clockwise rotation of the equipment, and then it was me versus the machine. . .

I threw; it spun. I pushed; it--did very little at first, as I'm lacking in upper-body strength these days, but eventually--formed. I spoke to it in pretentious cliches that alluded to dancing; it told me to quit rambling and get to the point. And so I created a serving dish and a plate, each around 6 or 7 inches in diameter (trimming and glazing were done in later classes, obviously):



Naturally, after I left my first class--on top of the world from having bested the wheel--I proceeded to tell as many people as seemingly possible that I was an unstoppable force of prodigal ceramic talent, and that they should put their orders in now before I'm swamped with admiration and business.

Naturally, that over-sized, head-shaped bubble quickly deflated with my unstoppable perfectionism and frustration, and recurring pencil-pot-shaped creations.

It looks like I'm not the next [insert Mozart of ceramics here]: I'm easily bored/distracted amid all the spinning; have yet to plan ahead and design what I want to make before I get behind the wheel (don't think and drive, kids); trimming is the nemesis of my anal retentiveness; and I'm a lazy glazer. However, I have picked it up quickly and successfully, and I'm having a helluva good time with both the clay work and with my classmates; so it looks like I'll have to settle for being "that kid" in class, who does things well without necessarily trying (see again, aforementioned episode of Community).

And while you roll your eyes, groaning that I am indeed "that kid," you can take a gander at my slowly growing body of work:


Note: No Ghost moments were reenacted during the making of these products.

Stay tuned for another Warren Tales experiment: Adventures In Film: Sleeping Through Photography Class.

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