The earth provides everything we need for life, health and vitality. It also provides some pretty nifty stuff to make art with. I have always been enamored by the craft of pottery. I relish in the simplicity of a well-crafted Guy Wolf flower pot. I spend inordinate amounts of time at museums looking at pottery displays to understand the evolution of modern society and how ancient civilizations used pottery to carry water, store food and to express themselves. So when the opportunity came for me to learn how to make pottery, I jumped at the chance.
Many of us have this image of making pottery that resembles a certain scene in the movie “Ghost”, but I am here to tell you it looks nothing like it. I am taking a class through our local cultural arts center here in Columbus http://www.culturalartscenteronline.org/ and have recently finished my first 8 week session (I will be taking another eight week session before breaking for the summer to do some serious gardening and bike riding). The first things you learn about making pottery have nothing to do with working on a potter’s wheel. So much of the stoneware and pottery we use every day is hand formed either by the pinch pot method or by working with slabs of clay (I will never look at my lasagna pans the same way). Once you have created your utilitarian or art piece, the next skill to learn is glazing which works with natural pigments and silicates to create beautiful designs and water tight vessels. Only after working with those methods did we see a demonstration of the wheel and its capabilities. I did get a chance to work with the wheel over the last couple of weeks, but the skill must be learned and it can take weeks to master making a simple column of clay.
The picture above shows my hand formed pieces (minus one, a plate I created that I am still waiting to be fired for the final time). While they are certainly rudimentary, I am pretty proud of them, I really enjoy pottery as a medium for creative expression and I am looking forward to learning this skill. Connecting with the earth can mean gardening, meditating or like this, working with materials from the earth to make functional and beautiful items to enrich your life and beautify your home!