Monday, February 28, 2011

An Unconventional Potter

Three small bowls, 2008

     Throwing again today for an upcoming Empty Bowls event in Richmond, Ky later this month. Despite the stormy weather and power outage in the early morning, I was able to start on making some bowls towards my total of 50. As I was centering my fifth or sixth or seventh ball of clay, I heard the voices of people I know asking, "Why don't you teach? How about offering lessons?" It's something I wish to avoid, quite frankly, but as I was making my bowls and stacking them on my tables next to me, I realized why. I'm a shitty thrower. I don't follow the basic rules of throwing and could never demonstrate because every example would be different than the next pot thrown. I have no consistency. And I don't care, either. I'm not in this because I have an obsession with the craft of being a potter and the historical connection to the past, blah, blah, blah. I have no romantic notions of the utilitarian and how noble it is, even if I do appreciate a good solid pot when I see one. I throw because I love working in clay and when you work in clay, it's something you learn to do. Someone trying to learn to throw from me would be instructed in what not to do.
I still have trouble centering.
If it isn't centered, I'll pull the form anyway until it becomes a disaster. And then I'll throw a fit.
I use clay that's too wet.
I use clay that's too dry.
I use the wrong ergonomic technique.
I use inefficient techniques.
I use the wrong tools.
I trim too much.
I trim too little.
I don't trim at all.
I don't use my chamois to soften my edges.
I don't clean up enough.
I overwork the clay.
I'm sloppy and clumsy.
My hands are in the wrong position.
My head is in the wrong position.
I don't open up enough.
My bowl bottoms are too shallow, too narrow, too flat.
My cups are too light. Or too heavy.
I don't throw tall enough.
My handles still suck.
     I am inconsistent to the end and so if you want lesson in how to throw, don't watch me. But if you want to know what it's like for a lot of people, feel free to watch me destroy a ball of clay, throw a fit and laugh at me in my insanity.


  1. Inconsistent is good. It makes life interesting.

  2. Inconsistent is good. It makes life interesting.