2021 summer throwback! Pottery and ceramics newbee!

After binge watching The Great Pottery Throwdown on HBOMax, I did not even think twice when I saw a summer course for a beginner ceramic studio. I did warn you about the serial hobbyist here, did I not?

Some initial ceramic carving tools

I walked in super excited and a tad bit nervous. To watch potters on TV and being a potter are two different things all together. But, I was excited to get my hands in the clay and make objects to bring home!

I have some experience working with terracotta clay when I started a sculpture class about two summers ago. That story is for another day. I did not enjoy that class as much as I should have because I had to drive at least an hour to get there on a weekend morning and was sitting in a cramped apartment of the instructor amidst slightly unhygienic restroom and access to good quality air. Simply put, that class was great on content and technique but the environment was bad.

Anyhow, let’s come back to summer 2021. We received a newsletter from city of Fremont rec and park with several summer offerings snd this adult ceramic class caught my eye.

Thankfully, unlike the terra-cotta sculpture class, this was ceramics, on the wheel and with different clay, a clean organized studio and a fun instructor.

okay: July 18, 2021 marks my first day at a pottery class! Well, better late then never!

An hour into the class and I find out that I’m not the only one that got enrolled into the class after watching the show, I was one of three! Loll! I was relieved that I was not the only one who made their partner roll their eyes in despair over my newest hobby! 😁

By this time we had chosen the type of clay and already made a pinch pot for our studio needs. Mine started as a circle and turned into a two sided lamp that could double as a paint brush holder. Now that was just the beginning.

Soon we went about rolling sheets of wonderful clay, laying it flat down and beating it and rolling it thin enough to sit into a mound so we could decorate it! You would think I stopped for some photographs, but my hands were absorbed in clay and I was enjoying the world of pottery so much that I’m glad I did not stop at all!

Two hours flew by in the studio, and now I’m determined to get my plans going for my own art studio, perhaps I will have an open studio lessons as I grow deeper into this wonderful world, but that’s for later.

I had so many ideas for the ceramic class and our instructor Susan was demonstrating using a sample piece and working along with us!

I made an oval boat dish for fruits and a double sided 🪔 for my Puja.

Week 2 of the pottery workshop.

Learnt all about glazing the hand made pots we made on week 1

Week 3 of ceramic studio.

It was more of a hit and miss with coil pots.

I’m learning to be open and embrace my mistakes and grow from that! So far, it has been a fun learning experience!

Week 3: big fails and tiny wins at the ceramic studio.
The tomato boat! 😂 was the tiny win!

When we were asked to make a coiled pot last week, I was unable to complete my original intended design, which I basically made as I built it! I needed a structure and some more detailing for it to work well! So I thrashed the idea and decided to revisit it later.

I brought some clay home to knead it into a tiny box. I did make some delicate roses. see below some snapshots of that learning

Coiled pot making
July 18 week: coiled pots
July 18 week: coiled pot
July 18th : coiled pot broke, needed fixing

Week 4&5 here I think! Wow, it’s August 2021! I’ve Lost track of what week it is at the ceramic studio because……my dearest readers, I’m busy getting me hands all mushy and on the wheel the past two sessions!

Let me tell you, I’ve been experimenting so much with this studio, it’s very liberating to say the least!

We are in the pottery for 2.5hrs and it feels like 10minutes has gone by!

People are busy and talking and laughing and working on their projects! I mean, if that is not fun then what else is?!

Next week is Uber exciting! I have to make a project for the next couple weeks….and my mind is bustling with ideas. Wonder what I should focus on! First things first, I’m not a good thrower, obviously. And my hand building skills just began, but I love textures and the roses I made so far. See pictures below.

I think I’m on a theme here…..with them roses!

August 9: thrown pots and a diya at the pottery.
August 9: glazed pottery for firing from the fixed coiled pot from last week!

Next week two things happen at the ceramic studio. A, we begin our personal project (mine will have roses) and B. These coiled pots will roll out after firing, will reveal some photos.

The grey glaze you see in the picture is a black and the rose is a pink color, I could not spot a red glaze, so we have to wait and see what can be done!

August 15th 2021 update:

I spent my 2.5hrs at the ceramic studio throwing forms, not pots. I made a plate and was told I could not do it directly on the wheel because when you try to lift it, it breaks. I tried to make a medium size bowl with a flower and it looks nice, except I need to make the rest of it next week when it is leather hard.

I did not glaze any of my previous work, my back and arm hurt but, my brain and mind are completely reset. I made a bell like form and I need to inspect it next week.

I made another bowl on which my clay fell and now I shaped it into a lamp / Diya for Diwali.

This was from last week’s glazing! I like the contrast!

I write this as a very exhausted person, awaiting a new week before we go back to ceramic studio again. My only hope is that the next two sundays will be hand building and fun with coiled pots and other things! Yay!

Come back here for more updates!

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Last night was a beautiful and absolutely well deserved quiet time at the ceramic studio. It was my very last batch of clay that I hand built into several trinket dishes for gifting during Navarathri season next month!

I did not realize that glazing would take so very long. I spent at least 2.5hrs glazing a dozen tiny trinket dishes and I loved it. As always, I came back home tired and hungry. I simply loved my time in the studio, I crave to mould and deepen my strength with ceramics over the next few years! Oh! It’s been such joy to get this beautiful life and access to ceramic studio in Fremont.

I’ll share finished trinkets next week hopefully. De below some pics I managed to click at the studio yesterday.

September 26th. And I picked up my glazed pieces from the studio.

I have larger pieces held back and those with go into second firing in the next few days and I pick them up next Sunday! Yay!

I will share those pictures here soon. I plan to pick them up next week. I can’t believe it’s been an entire summer of pottery that I could be part of so close to home. I’m planning to return next year.

Where do I go to take classes? check this link – www.regerec.com

Check out my instructor’s work – Susan Bettencourt

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