Thursday, October 8, 2009

Absolute beginners

I'm teaching a class at the Artscenter in Carrboro right now called Pottery Sampler. This is a class for absolute beginners. We started out with pinch pots, moved on to coils, then slabs and then the wheel. Last week one of my students brought in a photo of one of Mark Hewitt's pitchers and said, "I want to make this." My comment to her was, I can't make that! So I figured there had to be a good way to teach beginners to make a pitcher with slabs. And so I pulled out one of my trusty reference books from the 500 series and looked for one that might be an easy example. Here is what happened.
I rolled out a slab and stamped it with textures, beginners like using stamps.
Then I found a jar in my kitchen that looked like a good size for a pitcher, wrapped it in paper to keep the slab from sticking

And Voila, cut the rim, add a coil handle and not bad for an easy to make pitcher. We made them today in class and it was very fun!

15 comments:

cookingwithgas said...

not bad at all!

brandon phillips said...

i always cringe a little when beginners tell me they want to do something that is way beyond their skill level(wanting to make a dinnerware set is a common request.) do you break their spirit by telling them they won't be able to? do you distract them with something else? do you let them try and ultimately fail? i struggle with this gray area. i think you made a good call.

ang said...

super cool trace..hey i'm in that book not a fanastic photo though!!mmmm

Linda Starr said...

Hey I'll come and take your class it looks like a lot of fun and I can brush up on techniques. The pitcher looks great.

Peter said...

What a pitcher! It turned out really well. Great project to do, and a confidence booster to the folk in the class. In a print making class that I once tutored, one of my beginners wanted to draw like Albrecht Durer!

I was wondering if I could ask you a question about raku??? As you know, I have been having a dabble in raku recently. I read somewhere that copper glazes can slowly re oxidize over time and that some raku potters protect them. I wondered if you coat the fired raku pot with anything once it is cool, or know of potters who do?

Best Wishes, P.

fivefootfemale said...

inspired me as a beginner having to make a functional piece for my first project!
Thanks

Judy Shreve said...

Cool project - you gave those kids practical skills & confidence. One of my first pottery instructors told us that pottery was a series of problem solving . . . I was so disappointed to hear that cause I was there to have fun -- but you know -- it is. And you demonstrated to your students -- ask the question & then figure out how to do it.

And it's a great pitcher too!

traceybroome@mindspring.com said...

Thanks all for your comments. Peter, the copper will re oxidize and fade over time. Steven Forbes told us a story about a museum packing away some raku pieces of a famous potter and later pulling them out to find they were all black, the colors completely gone. I know of some raku people that use a silver polish to protect the pieces and some use wax. I'm not sure anything will make the copper permanent though. I should do more investigating.....

ang said...

hey peter, anna has some super new recipes we've been trying out it'll take a while to see if they oxidise though..it is all in the chemistry apparently some silica helps i'll see if i can find those notes, now where did i put them??

traceybroome@mindspring.com said...

Ang, I would be interested in the glazes as well. I have also heard that if the glaze has clay in it, it will help slow the oxidation, not sure if this is correct, but makes sense I guess.BTW, cool that you are in the pitchers book!

Sister Creek Potter said...

I'm not an absolute beginner BUT I learned a lot from your lesson. Thanks.
PS It is a very nice pitcher! Gay Judson

traceybroome@mindspring.com said...

Gay, good to hear from you! I was cleaning out some of my computer files last night and ran across Kenny's Christmas drawing. I'm saving it for my holiday post again this year! I just love it!! I think I might start posting more of the projects we do in class. next week will be the last class, but I start again in February.

Cori said...

Great project idea. Think I will use as slab demo for my students on Tuesday night. Thanks.

Patricia Griffin said...

Great project and post Tracey.

P.Bridges said...

Here's my take on the same project.I will post a picture after it's glazed as well http://bridgespottery.com/blog