Monday, March 1, 2010

Coil Pots Workshop at Starworks

I drove down to Star today to take a coil pots workshop at Starworks with Hitomi. I have tried several times to take a workshop there, but they fill up so fast and I am always too late. luckily this one still had room and I am so glad because it was a great workshop! If you live anywhere nearby and have a chance to take a class with Hitomi, do so. She is a great teacher!! I know how to make a coil pot, but I have always felt that there were some things I was doing the hard way and there had to be a better technique. Today, I worked out all of those issues with Hitomi's guidance. First of all, I roll out a slab for my bottoms. Hitomi pounds out a chunk of clay on the banding wheel with her fist, much better. I roll out and use round coils. Hitomi showed us how to roll out a coil and then paddle it to flatten it a bit, much better than the round coils.
Santiago was there to help and Hitomi's husband Takuro was there with the little one, who I was very tempted to take home with me!

Another thing I have problems with is how to finish the pot off. Now I understand when to add a coil on the inside, or the outside, or slant it, or place it straight up, how to press in to the outside of the pot while pressing down on the rim. There are a lot of small things that don't seem like they would make a difference but they really do. I could force a pot into shape with coils and lots of use of tools, now I understand how to make a coil pot basically using my hands and a paddle, maybe a rib every now and then.
One other thing I learned today was how to round out my pots more. Before Hitomi got to this pot it was much more straight and angular, like a lot of my pots. She showed me how to look at it and see where it wants to be more rounded and just a bit of pushing from the inside, paddling the outside and my pot became more full and shapely.
Speaking of paddles, this was handmade by a gentleman that was there today helping out. Wayne carved this paddle from ash and it made one of the nicest patterns on my pot. I love this paddle, I was trying to convince him to start making them and sell them. Guess I'm going to have to bring out the old girl scout lessons I learned and carve my own.
One last thing I picked up today. My rims are always too small aesthetically for the size of my pots. I knew this back in my head somewhere but didn't really know what to do about it. Hitomi showed me how to add a thin coil to the outer rim to give it more thickness and that did the trick, then water and a chamois and a 100% better rim on my pot. And so I brought home a well constructed coil pot made from NC clay that they are now making and selling at Starworks. I used the ^6 and will Raku this pot, so I am excited that I may be soon using home grown clay!!
TaDa, and yes my Hollis Engley cup came along for moral support :)
Thanks Hitomi for a wonderful day!!!! You can see more pictures from the day at Starworks blog
PS: picked up Gerry from the airport at 6pm, of course his luggage didn't make it on the flight so I am sitting here waiting on the airline to contact us. Ger got up at 8am Sunday morning, shot the closing ceremonies last night, waited 45 minutes to get a cab to the airport, slept there for 4 hours and then got a 6am flight home this morning. He is now sound asleep after a very long February. glad to have him home!!


Linda Starr said...

Oh I wish I had been there, I really want to take this workshop, I have so many of my own questions and the workshops sounds like a good one. thanks for the great post and info.

Tracey Brome said...

Linda, I actually thought about you on the way home and how you would have really liked this workshop. Well worth the trip down there.

Trish said...

What a great day for you, lucky to have such great workshops close at hand. Great pot!.
Glad your hubby is home safe and sound.My daughter was given a ticket to the closing ceremonies, which she so enjoyed!:)

Hollis Engley said...

Sounds like a great workshop, Tracey. Wish I'd taken it. Made me smile to see you brought you cup.

cookingwithgas said...

Great post on the workshop and the folks down at Star.
Hitomi is a great teacher and that little Ken is a doll.
There is another one on the way.

Hope Gerry is home and ready to rest before the next adventure.

Anonymous said...

looks like a great workshop... i loved handbuilding back in the day. a good paddle is always a big help, i like the looks of that ash one. i made my kitchen cabinets out of ash. it's a beautiful wood as it ages. the patina from the oils on your hand would make it a nice warm color... but i digress. big coiled pots, yum!

Laura said...

Tracey you look great! I'd love to know your coil building secrets if you'd be into sharing (like, show me). I've been using coils in my new work and feeling like I kinda know what I'm doing, but not quite. I figure there must be an easier way. Glad Gerry is home safe and sound. xo

ang said...

rockin worksp trace, and what a pot well done you can go crazy now with all that experience and what a brilliant venue i love space! ahh travelling cup! mmmm comfort zone...

Hitomi said...

Dear Tracey

Thank you for joining that workshop at STARworks Ceramics. I was so glad everybody was able to make nice jar! Hope to see you soon.