Turning the earth into functional art

I love to make things with my hands – drawing, carving, knitting, apple pie. ing. I love ceramics ’cause they’re earthy, functional, traditional, and sustainable. Plus – it’s something you can make yourself from clay – I mean, how cool is that? People have been doing this for thousands upon thousands of years. And you can do it too! (But you don’t have to – support a local potter instead if you have other passions to follow!)

Let me walk you through throwing a bowl (or a cup or a mug, or even a plate, if you’re really talented). Take a lump of clay and pat it into a sphere. Plop it on a spinning wheel and throw your body down on top of it. By this I mean hunker over the wheel and push against the clay with your whole body, forcing it up and out into the shape you want. (OK, most amateur potters would agree that you don’t necessarily have all the say – sometimes the clay has its own idea of what shape it should take and, try as you might, you can’t convince it otherwise).

It is both easier and harder than you might think to throw a bowl. It is easy because the clay wants to move and all you have to do is shape it as it moves. It is hard because it takes a surprising amount of strength and concentration. It is also a wonderful mental space in which to be – a meditation of sorts – zone in on the clay and breathe.

These are pieces from the end of last quarter when I was hand-shaping using leaf, seed, and cone impressions. I look forward to doing more of this when these objects are again at hand!

These are the first pieces from this winter quarter.
The ongoing flounder project (first one is hand-sized, second is platter):

I have been exploring the use of overlapping glazes. Bold colors and goopy edges – so unlike me – Fun fun!

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3 Responses to Turning the earth into functional art

  1. google says:

    Good Lord, Jen – these are gorgeous! If you ever up the world of science, you could make a pretty penny selling these!

  2. FishGirl says:

    Glad you think so! Say, commission a piece from me sometime!

  3. adorninc says:

    I love the glazed pieces!

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