Becoming a Potter

first pots
Swasey Parkway in Fall
By the river in Exeter

One day last fall, I was walking past the Exeter Fine Crafts shop and noticed their sign advertising that they have pottery classes. It was a sunny fall day, and it was one of those kind of days when you think the world is beautiful and anything is possible. And because I was in a curious mood, I went in and signed up for a pottery class. I’d never made any kind of pottery in my life, but I’d always wondered about doing so.

After the first class, I was intrigued. I loved the feel of the clay in my hands. I loved the motion of the wheel. I loved that I could actually create something with my hands. Each week, I was more and more entranced by the whole process. But I wasn’t thinking past the last class. I thought I’d have fun and that would be it. By the time we finished our last class, I was totally hooked.

During that first class, I learned wheel throwing as well as hand building. I made bowls on the wheel and bowls using molds. Since it was late fall, I started making things I could give as Christmas gifts. How perfect!

first pots
Some of my first pots. My favorite is the bowl in the middle.

Also during this first class, I decided to see if I could find some pottery videos online. I needed to understand more about the whole process, especially trying to figure out why some of my pots were great and others were just total flops! Yes, this is part of the process for beginning potters.

I found a ton of videos by experienced potters, including an extensive collection by potter Simon Leach. When I realized he offers weekend pottery workshops in Pennsylvania and that I’d be traveling somewhat near there in the spring, I signed up for a workshop. Oh dear, now I was going to have to really practice or I’d be wasting my money!

bisque ware and some glazes
Considering which glaze colors to use

Thankfully, while visiting at my mom’s place in Florida, I discovered another studio nearby and took some classes there. I made more pots! This time, I devoted all of my class time to practicing on the wheel. I came home with some decent pots. At least I was able to center the clay, but I sure needed more practice, as my pieces were not consistent.

A very humble mug (?)

I’ve decided that pottery is a very soothing passion for me. I love the feel of clay and the movement of clay on the wheel. I love that it’s a creative process. I love that I have a ton of things yet to learn about pottery. It’s an adventure that keeps unfolding.