Our First Pottery Term

Scott and I did a six week pottery term at Ceramiques Camberwell.

The first two weeks were throwing. I don’t think I have a picture of week 1 because we had to leave a tiny bit early to go to a dinner thing. We learned how to make basic cup shapes in the first week, and then how to make curvy things in week 2 (pictured above).

It was fun but also hard and I didn’t really find it relaxing, as you can tell from my face, lol.

Week 3 was trimming. I found it difficult to center my pieces for trimming because all my pieces were lopsided and not perfectly round, but once you got it going it is a very satisfying process. I really liked getting rid of all the extra thicc bits at the bottom.

Week 4 and 5 was throwing with different types of clay, and trimming again. We learned how to marble the clay, and theoretically how to make plates (did not have much success with that). The dark brown clay was very very very rough, like, sandpapering your hands off rough. The medium brown clay was gritty but nicer. The next day the callouses on my hands were stained orange!!

All of my pieces on the left, and all of Scott’s on the right. Ready for wax and then glaze.

The final week was glazing. Scott kept saying “4-20 GLAZE IT”. Glazing was a bit chaotic. They had about 10 different types of glaze set out for us, and we each had about 10 pieces to do, but only one person can use a bucket at a time. They showed us how to do multiple different techniques of dipping, pouring, dripping, mixing etc. Also every clay and glaze looks different at this stage compared to the final result.

I had a grand plan of how I wanted to make everything look but then got totally confused and ended up just dipping things randomly/making everything pink.

Glazes pieces ready for the final firing. I was so worried I’d messed up all my pieces at this point. I kept knocking the sides with the tongs and accidentally leaving fingerprints on everything. And if you didn’t put enough wax on the bottoms or didn’t wipe off enough glaze from the bottoms your pieces can stick in the kiln and ruin everything!! POTTERY IS NOT RELAXING!! (At least as a beginner/stresshead).

Finally 8 weeks later (damn lockdown 4.0) we got to pick up our finished pottery. We were mostly pleasantly surprised, with some cringe. A lot of our pieces have cracks from not compressing the bases enough, and yes there were some poor glaze choices and mishaps. But overall we have a buttload of functional tiny vessels, and some of them are really very nice!

Scott’s stuff. The mug is his favourite.

My stuff. I also like my mug the most, and the textured vase thingy on the right.

Better picture of my tiny vase. I scooped out all the little circles in the trimming phase, and then was hoping the glaze would settle into them and look interesting, which I suppose it did! I like it. What should I use it for?

Overall the course was pretty good. I don’t like not being immediately good at something. :P We might do another term some time, but we didn’t sign up right away. It would be fun to do it with some other friends as well.

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