This session was full of excitement and energy, I could tell that everyone in the class was looking forward to their chance at throwing their very own pot. I began by explaining that they should forget everything they had ever seen before on any game show, about throwing. The only time they needed the wheel to turn that fast was to centre. This is the most crucial part of any work on the wheel, its really all about getting the clay centred, once you have achieved that particular skill you are half way there. It is the hardest part in my opinion about throwing, mastering your own technique, every potter will find their own unique style, how they centre. Each person was given the same measured amount and instructed how to knead the clay in order to expel any air pockets.
Some took to it like ducks to water, others just needed a little help to centre, and they were off. It really was a wonderful sight watching as someone finally gets it, that moment when the penny drops, the ah yes moment. Yes we did have the oh no I have taken that just a little too far, and now it’s a plate! But the exercise was never about making the biggest pot it was about engaging in a skill, being a part of a wonderful group of crafts people who throw… There was lots of laughing which is just what I had wanted, and encouragement from all the participants for each other. This is why I had helped them experience the medium of clay in the first weeks by handling, moulding, sculpting enjoying the texture getting to know their material. I knew that by the time they would be throwing they would have a relationship with their medium, they would not be afraid of it and know that it would not do anything too much to shock them.
I think the participants were amazed at how little mess there really was, yes you need water to keep the clay moving but you as the potter control how much. Too much and yes it’s a big old mess, too little and it’s just too sticky and unmoveable. But it was the air of calm and peace that was so wonderful, a tranquil and quiet atmosphere, and that is why these sessions with clay are so important in this ever expanding and fast world we live in it is perfect just to stop for a few hours a week and clam some time back for you…..