Monday, January 23, 2012

Artist Date/Pottery Workshop Continued

Emily using calipers to measure lids and tops
The first day of the workshops at the Clay Company was a full day program starting at 9am with a throwing demonstration. Emily Reason was the potter doing demonstration.  She is also doing a residency at the Clay Company.  She was using porcelain which is so beautiful and fine.  I have never worked with porcelain, but understand it can be difficult to work with though immensely satisfying.  Of course a master thrower makes it look so easy, but any of us who have ever tried to throw on the wheel know how hard mastering center can be.  Once you learn to center then it is a matter of various techniques of cylinder building, forming bowl, plates and so on.  Of course all of this takes years, not days. 

Clay company sponsored workshops

throwing a large porcelain pot
throwing demonstration Clay Company
Emily Reason Potter
hand placement in throwing a bowl

 I will never forget taking ceramics in college.  I had worked weeks to learn to throw a cylinder that was centered and well formed.  My professor came by and said good job, then took a wire and sliced it right down the middle.  I was crestfallen, how could he have done that!  He said, now you know how to throw, you can do it again!  And of course he was right, it just took me a while to get over the shock and realize it. The workshop was crowded and people asked many questions.  The teacher  was patient and shared her studies in China and other ceramic studies.  Her descriptions of her studies in China through a University of West Virginia art program were interesting. One of the most interesting parts was about how production pottery is done in China.   One person throws, one trims and one decorates..the last person is called the potter!

Chattaway Drive In(click for video)

Lunch beak....with artist friend Monica Guerrero (from Peru) to a wonderful old Florida historic cafe, the Chattaway.  This old Florida at its best! Topical, laid back, flowering and green...wonderful aroma's drifting in the breeze.  It is essential in an artist date for yourself to relax that is when creativity and inspiration sneaks in, allow yourself to play!  

Funky Gator sculpture at the Chataway

Quirky  fun in door dinning at the Chataway
a little jazz makes for a relaxing day

 Afternoon was what I was there for....Raku!  They had sample bisque pots to purchase to try out different underglazes and raku glazes. It was a perfect Winter Florida day.  70 degrees, no humidity, no mosquitos and a warming sun.  The afternoon pottery teacher was brought in from Tallahasse.  She teachers at the Florida school of the Arts.  We learned about a new style of raku kiln that is affordable and light weight.  We also used pine straw, rather than torn paper, in the oxygen reduction chamber, which I like a lot.  We put on safety glasses, welders gloves, and grabbed our tongs...then we pulled the red orange glowing pots straight from the heat and plunged them into the cans with pine straw.  We allowed them to catch fire, the closed the lids tight to deprive oxygen and forced the smoke into the crackles of the glaze that are formed with temperature shock.  It is a process I love, as well as, the unpredictability of the outcome. 
I encourage you to take yourself on artists dates, take workshops, go on walks on the beach or in the woods, go to thrift stores, visit a gallery, do anything that is fun that gets those creative juices going. 

Monic Guerrero observing raku resutlts 

Light weight raku kiln/Brachers Kilns(click on for kiln info)

Fire brick and gas burner 

My sample pot with red, blue and yellow underglazes and raku overglaze


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