Our schedule for the two weeks which soon changed.
Haystack Workshop Schedule
Bowl, paying great attention to the inside
Rim cut out and rolled over
Rim rolled over in two places
Cups from Day 1 with handles. This handle works perfectly for holding and drinking. Bowl ovaled on banding wheel
Pitcher spout shaped into rim
Using bull’s tongue on his pitcher
Cut out, darting, for shape and handle placement
Cut out for spout
Attaching spout made from a slab of clay
Handles awaiting attachment
Pulling a spout
Day 3 was Lidded Jars. I particularly liked this statement of Allegheny’s that moment of beauty such as when a flower petal causes us to pause.
What are the decisions we make in our pots that are part of our artistic expression and how can we cause one to pause?
The lids of a jar can be as beautiful as a pot so if the jar is broken the lid is still a beautiful object.
Day 4 Teapots. How does one start? One thinks about form, about motion, about the feeling of making something beautiful. Allegheny thinks of teapots as being feminine, the making of tea is a ritual, it is nurturing, it is the taking of a moment to slow down. Things to think about, how do we think of beauty, what is beauty, how do we look at the world. These inform our pots. How a finger or tool touches the clay – those are important moments.
Spouts and lids
Thrown handles for teapots
Throw all parts for the teapot at the same time so the shrinkage is the same
Assembling teapots. If the spout is too low it is hard to pour. Place the handle high otherwise it is too much on the wrist when pouring.
It is an honor to listen to an artist talk about their work, their process, their inspirations. I love hearing ideas about process or inspiration put together in a way that I think ‘I have never heard that before’. And the bonus: it makes me think differently about something going on in my own work. This experience with words is analogous to teaching a beginner to throw. We all use different words to communicate the process. I imagine that for most us these words come from our teachers who taught us to throw. Learning to throw is hard and, I think, even harder to explain in words. At some point the student must experience the process for themselves. Sometimes, it takes a new teacher to use slightly different words for a student to understand. When a beginner realizes how to use their body, their hands, when they experience the feeling of the right amount of pressure they get that “ah ha” moment and voila they can center the clay.
Yesterday while listening to Ben I was having lots of “ah ha” moments. I have always thought that a mug should have a flat bottom like a coffee can. Ben makes the bottom of his pots, even his mugs, with a natural curve. He sees the whole interior as one plane as opposed to a horizontal and vertical space. It sets up the pot for his decoration. For me the “ah ha” moment came when he talked about arches and strength. A catenary kiln arch is so strong that it is hard to take down. The same could be said of a curved arched bottom of a mug – it is stronger.
I came away with another gem. In talking about his desire to create soft surfaces, Ben said the tension created by the rib is released by pushing into the surface. He is creating and releasing tension. “Ah ha!” I think about creating tension but not releasing it. And then there was the description of form language. A pot should have the same form language and not have a foot speaking Chinese, a rim speaking Staffordshire and a belly speaking German salt. I smiled as I visually conjured up a pot with these three languages. “Ah ha!” Thanks Ben.
Throwing a mug, great discussion on good posture for back health
Trimming an iced tea pitcher
Notches on foot line up with pushed in areas
Template for a spout
Adjusting spout to fit
Handle starts as a coil, is flattened and pulled so the ends remain fatter than the middle
Pulling the handle
Handles shaped waiting to be attached when a little harder
Sgraffito decoration on wet slip in a zig zag movement