We had a lot more time on the wheel in week two, only a short review demo by the instructor, Wendy. After the demo, we went step-by-step together centering the clay and forming a basic shape. Then we were left to practice, with Wendy answering questions and walking around to give help.
Let's see if I can remember the initial steps:
1) Wedge, wedge, and wedge some more. This is sort of like kneading dough in baking, but a lot more physical. The purpose in ceramics is to have consistent material, get out air bubbles, and get the mound in a shape that will make centering easier.
2) Get the clay on the wheel, ideally right in the center. If not, skootch it around until it looks like it is.
3) Start the wheel, get your hands and the clay wet and slippery.
5) Make a depression in the center, going almost all the way down. Check the depth of the bottom, using the pin tool. If okay, move on, if not make thinner or thicker as needed.
6) Open the shape to the desired circumference. Compress the bottom. Pull the walls up, shape.
7) Grab a board (it has a name, I forget), and have it very nearby for transferring your creating. Hold the wire taught at the base of the piece. Very slowly turn the wheel, cutting the clay free from the wheel. Hold gingerly, with a light turning motion pick the piece up close to the bottom and transfer quickly to the board.
Of course Wendy makes it look like no big whoop, the rest of us are a wet lopsided mess. I am so thankful for all that teach beginning anything. They are so patient! I really appreciate Wendy's philosophy, which is: we are beginners, and should be patient with ourselves. Learning any new skill takes time. Enjoy the process, don't worry about production, and just have fun getting messy!
I can dig it!
Be back soon with an update for photography class.
Clay that has been wedged and is ready for the wheel.
Yay, I made a small pitcher (foreground)!
A vase by the instructor during the demo is in the background.
A pitcher made by the instructor last week. It is now
"soft-leather hard," a good time to do any trimming.
Land of too wet clay, drying out on a plaster slab.
Something on my shelf!