I have always wanted to try pottery, and last year I had a go at making pinch pots with the lovely Noriko Nagaoka and I wrote about it here. I enjoyed it so much I ended up going twice and I definitely got the pottery bug! My parents obviously cottoned on to this and my Christmas present from them last year was a one-day workshop with Clover Lee to try my hand at throwing pottery on the wheel. Because our weekends fill up so quickly, I ended up booking way in advance for the class and last weekend the day finally arrived!
Clover’s studio is in an industrial park about 25 minutes’ walk from my flat, so on a sunny Saturday morning I gathered my painting shirt and packed lunch and headed out. I had no real trouble finding it thanks to the clear directions provided ahead of the class. Clover gave us a little introduction to the studio and where we could put our lunches in the fridge, get tea & coffee, and she even had tins of biscuits and chocolates to keep us going through the day. We got aproned up and gathered around one of the wheels for Clover to give us a demonstration of the throwing process. I felt slightly bamboozled with information and was more than apprehensive about trying it myself, but Clover guided us through each of the steps again and gave us hands-on help.
My first couple of pieces were really opportunities to get into a rhythm and figure out how the clay responds to what you’re doing and how to get the shapes and results you have in your head. By that I mean they sucked! Ha! I think you have to go through the process of bodging it to really learn what works and what doesn’t and by the 3rd or 4th pieces I was starting to get much better shapes. As we got the hang of it, we had the option to gradually increase the size of clay we used so we could try bigger pieces as well.
By the end of the day I had been so engrossed in throwing that I hadn’t actually eaten my lunch, but I had made 9 pieces! We could select 6 to get glazed as part of the class fee and any extras were at an additional cost, but I was quite happy to jettison my first few attempts! Apart from those few initial experiments I was really happy with what I had made, especially my incense burner and bowl. All I can say is that the class has done nothing to dampen my enthusiasm towards pottery and ceramics and I might be considering joining an evening class at some point…
At the end of the class we all agreed on 3 glazes that would be used to decorate our pots. The group chose a dark blue, oatmeal and matt white. We then labelled each of our pots with which glaze we wanted them finished with – I labelled most of mine with oatmeal which I absolutely loooooved.
Now it’s a waiting game while the pots are glazed and fired so I have my fingers and toes crossed that they don’t crack in the kiln and that they come out looking lovely. I’ll be able to collect them in August so watch this space and I’ll share how they turn out soon!
Fancy having a go? Clover Lee runs regular classes and workshops and you can find all the information including prices on her website at https://www.clover-lee.com/potteryclasses. Make sure you take a look at her gallery too!
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