Thinking aloud. Much Needed.

Its been 9 months of almost continuous pottery. Almost..because I have taken breaks to travel back to India to visit family, attend weddings, etc.

As a  research analyst I had always loved holidays, finding one lame excuse or the other to take an off. But now that I am a potter, I do not like things that keep me away from clay. If it’s a weekday, I want to be in my workplace. Holidays now do not excite me so much. May be because I am not working working, I am doing what I like.

The journey so far has been good. I have grown from being able to center 300 grams of clay to about 2 kgs. I can now experiment with altering a cylinder form, making bowls, mugs, tea sets etc. Just today I threw my first plate ever. I feel excited when I eat home-cooked food in my hand-made crockery. My husband gets to see a big smile on my face all through our meal on such days. 😀

My learning curve could have been steeper if I had a pottery teacher. Without guidance, I don’t know if I am approaching my practice the right way. Questions like – Given this is my first year of pottery, am I doing okay? Am I jumping steps? How has my growth been? What should I do better/differently? These questions remain unanswered.

Also, pottery requires a lot of chemistry. Honestly, till about a week back, I was scared to start learning about glazes, underglazes, slips, mocha diffusion, salt firing, soda firing etc, all on my own. I did not know where to start. But, a few days back I got this book, The Complete Guide to Mid-Range glazes by John Britt. Reading just the first few pages has boosted my confidence. I now have an information source that I can turn to anytime.

I was reflecting yesterday. I was my class topper in school. I never ever thought of competing with anyone. I just studied and made sure I got a good hang of the basics of any subject, and rest just followed. I am confident if I use this approach in pottery, get my basics right, all will fall in place.

With no teacher, no fellow learners, it is very important to be self-motivated. That part is pretty much taken care of. My husband often has to force me to sleep when I am engrossed in clay. The chemistry bit of it is tricky for me. Hopefully, I will tackle that soon.

hmm. The blabbering helped. Basically it is lack of technical knowledge  (correct form, how to advance my skills, clay composition, glaze formation, application etc.) and means of attaining it are bothering me. Solution – good books, lots of practice, lots of experiments. Failed ones will hopefully teach me more than successful ones.

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