Week 11: Pottery, Turning Clay into Art
"In Old Europe and Ancient Crete, women were respected for their roles in the discovery of agriculture and for inventing the arts of weaving and pottery making." - Carol P. Christ
What did I do:
I love creating something from nothing. So when my friend Layla decided to take a pottery class for her birthday, I couldn't resist. She organized a private class at Bitter Root Pottery, a local studio in Los Angeles. It was a lot of fun to have a few hours to just relax, learn and indulge in the art of pottery. Starting with a piece of clay or earth, using one's bare hands and the inspiration of one's imagination, you can mold the clay into an perfectly imperfect piece of art. What's not to love?
Who was I with:
Being Layla's birthday, I was joined by many of her closest friends and her adorable niece. I didn't know several of her friends but had a chance to bond with them during this adventure.
What did i learn:
We learned two types of pottery making. The first is one what likely comes to mind, thanks to the Demi Moore & Patrick Swayze scene in the iconic movie, Ghost.
Taking wet clay, we use the wheel and several techniques and tools to spin and shape the material as desired. This method takes a lot of practice but luckily for us, we had a great instructor who walked us through the process step by step.
The second technique was new to me. Using what looked like cookie cutters, we cut different shapes of clay. The shapes can be leaves, hearts, circles, etc. Since we were making a bowl, we used a steel bowl as our base, and molded the pieces of clay around it. I found this technique a bit easier to learn because you have more control over how the clay is shaped.
Once we made our bowls, we then each selected a color for the glaze. That is where our class ended but the process of pottery making did not. As part of the service, the instructors will take the clay bowls, glaze it and put them through the firing process.
Firing clay transforms it from its humble, soft beginnings into a new, durable substance, ceramic. Ceramics are tough and similar in some ways to stone. Pieces of pottery have survived for thousands of years, all because clay met fire. But beware, not all the bowls survive the fire.
Would I do this again:
I've said this before, I love making something out of nothing. The act of creation is so inspiring. We were able to learn so much just in one session. Whether you take this class alone or with friends/family, there is something truly meditative and relaxing when making pottery. I think it goes back to being present and focusing all your intention and energy on the task at hand.