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I am finding it pretty challenging to maintain a (mid? late?) pandemic pottery practice. I’ll be intermittently updating this page.

I’ve set a goal of 100 pots this year, and if things work out, I’ll fire the gas kiln once.

27 January

three

Ah, the glorious season when things take forever to dry, so instead of trimming, I get to keep throwing. I started on another very soft batch of clay, so that means more plates. These “side plates” are such a good size for toast, family-style meals, or desserts.

Since I am working on finding my rhythm– and to some extent, my joy– with pottering again, I’m not striving for multiple identical pieces or getting too fixated on making a particular form. I briefly considered making more mugs before succumbing to the joy of the gently rounded plate.

Some of my favorite pieces living with some of my favorite people are plates. So I threw six of them. Plus two more wobbly little sauce bowls which I’ll keep for myself.

18/100 thrown

Bonus: I really enjoy Bill Van Gilder’s discussion of what happens to a plate in the kiln in this video.

24 January

A freshly trimmed ceramic cup showing my and Lam's marks on the foot, held in a left hand against a gray wall.

Trimmed two of the bowls I made last week. Made some erratic markings on one of them; not sure how it will turn out. I also trimmed the vessel that Lam made, and “forged” her mark on the base.

Since the clay I have is so soft, I threw two plates yesterday, a larger one and a small one. I also made a soup bowl.

10/100 thrown

Note to self: make smaller dipping sauce bowls. Review glaze recipes and consider starting to gather/purchase materials.

19 January

Lam bends over the wheel holding a wooden rib, putting the final touches on a small vessel she's just thrown.
Lam at the wheel. Tool mess is all my doing.

My dear friend Lam came for a studio visit, which was good motivation for me to get in there and work.

Thankfully last week’s pots were still wet enough to trim; I hadn’t wrapped them very tightly because I thought maybe I’d work on them in a couple of days. I should know by now that it’s better to wrap things well just in case I don’t get in as soon as I’d planned.

After a lovely lunch at Everest Kitchen (kind staff, delicious food, highly guzzle-able chiya), Lam had her first kickwheel experience on the old Lockerbie. I cut through the bottom of the bowl I made as demo, but Lam did great!

As far as my 100 pots goal, I’ve thrown 7 this year, and 5 have made it through the trimming process. Not sure how exactly I’m counting, but getting things to greenware1 stage seems a good start.

13 January

I got into the studio yesterday and threw pots for the first time in too many months. I let myself make whatever I want. I started with small amounts of soft clay, unweighed. I listened to my body and didn’t try to make too many things. I’m writing this as a way of procrastinating on returning to the studio. I’ve reread small to remember why I do this.


Footnotes

1. greenware is the stage at which a piece is dry enough to go through the first firing to become a biscuit, after which it is more durable (though still fragile) and can be stored until I have enough pieces for a glaze firing.