Gary's Third Pottery Blog
“But eyes are blind. You have to look with the heart.”
― Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry, The Little Prince
Gary's third pottery blog

WRITE TO ME! garyrith@yahoo.com Come see me! Binghamton, NY: Cloth and Clay May 10-11, Unitarian Church; and July fest, July 11-13. Gallery 41 Owego, NY May 4 and 18. All material on this blog unless stated otherwise is copyright Gary Edward Rith 2013-2014

Saturday, August 25, 2012

29 years plus 29 minutes....


(me, with a bowl bigger than my head...much bigger...it will be decorated and trimmed today---I had a few pounds clay in the bottom of a bag and felt lazy and...keep reading)

People ask me "how long does it take to make these pots?" all the time.
People have seen the movie GHOST and figure all you have to do to make pottery is look sexy and move your hands around on some wet clay!  But pottery, of course, is like brain surgery and rocket science:  it takes years to learn!  This week marks 29 years since I started to learn pottery (15+ years full-time at it and 6 years blogging about it :)

SO, my clever answer to the people who ask how long it takes to make something is "29 years plus 29 minutes" and I explain that while it may only take a few minutes to throw an item, it has to later be trimmed, glazed, and you could add packed in a box and taken to the PO.....but really?  Even an enormous, for me, bowl like the one above?  Takes just a few minutes to throw, about the same as it takes for a smaller bowl....and not much longer than 1/2 inch tall thrown beer stein the dog is holding on the large beer stein below.  Throwing is quick, for me, but only a tiny part of the whole process.

I rarely work big, for a number of reasons.  First, I prefer to work small and cute, and as the wife says, "you are small and cute!".  Second, I have a small and medium sized kiln which would fill quickly.  Third, it is one of those BIG D!CK things:  some potters are like 'oh I can throw HUGE'.  Well, I can too, but I really like fussing and fiddling and using my imagination on an item, like the sculpted beer steins below, shown in stages with the sketches etc.  Fourth:  big items are hard to glaze in my glaze buckets.  I have small glaze buckets and I am too lazy to mess around with big buckets.

SO, yesterday, as you see below, I made HUGE beer steins, hold 1.5-2 pints each with decorations on them and even a small thrown stein for the dog AND I had some leftover clay and leftover space in the kiln to fill and I was like "let's just empty the bag of clay and make a bowl".  It is one particular challenge for a potter:  one large ball of clay turned into a complete pot in one sitting.  Because you can work on throwing large items in stages, as it dries adding and shaping, but to do it all at once, how big can you go? I can go pretty big, esp. considering I am a small wiry person.
 

4 comments:

JB said...

That scene in "Ghost" has a lasting effect on all who see it. Every time the movie is shown on TV I get a spate of enquiries for classes. It is a lot harder than it looks but very satisfying. Some say theraputic and others say frustrating, but like anything it takes practice and time.

soubriquet said...

My mind is always in the gutter.

Back in the old days, when I was demonstrating to evening group visits, and I had, for instance, twenty members of the Young Wives Club, the Women's Institute, or some similar group, composed of all women, I would experiment with my show, and on the occasions when, with a straight face, I'd centre a piece of clay, have it mound into a breast shape, raise a nipple, let my finger rest a moment at its peak, then gently push it down, then, in a swoop the clay would raise up, thick, phallic and swaying, down again to a breast and then, with a plunge, my fingers would dive in and open it deep, there'd be a collective gasp, and I'd smile innocently at all those pink, flustered faces.

And when I did my demo like that, they were always more animated, asking more questions, consuming more chocolate cookies, and most important, buying more pots!

Afterward of course, I'd catch hell out of my girlfriend, who'd accuse me of flirting with the woman in the second row.
What can I say? The woman in the second row? Which one was that? Oh, yes, she bought two teapots.

Claudia from Idiot's Kitchen said...

The huge bowl.....I covet it. I have a mixing bowl problem....

cm said...

B wants to know if you make growlers.

Me and Missus Tastycakes

Me and Missus Tastycakes

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I am a part-time pottery instructor at Cornell University Pot Shop and a full-time studio potter and sculptor, married to superhawt Missus Tastycake.