ad – in collaboration with Yonobi who have kindly gifted me the wheel throwing course
Having three wheel throwing sessions under my belt at Yonobi studios, I can quite confidently say that I love this process of pottery. Make no mistake I am well aware that I am an absolute beginner at wheel throwing.
I know from past pottery experience and short creative courses, that learning new techniques and skills can give you burst of excitement and optimism to continue the craft after the course. Even in some cases an optimistic and maybe false confidence that you can now set up your own business straight away. This is all very nice and well it shows a successful course introducing and encouraging people to the craft (of any creative course). But this is just that, excitement and buzz. To be any successful crafts person/ maker or design does take years of hard work.
But guess what?! I want to continue to use the wheel, I want to learn more and master my craft. So I’m in that phase of the course. I get it. But the dream and ambition isn’t a bad thing, it’s sweet, it shows a love for the craft, a trust with the studio with happiness about personal and creative growth. It’s healthy. I know I’m far off. I know that to be a good wheel thrower it takes YEARS of practice. And maybe I want to.
Coming into this Yonobi wheel throwing course, the tutor, ceramic artist Maj asked us all what we were wanting to come out of this 6 week course. All I wanted was to understand the basics of the techniques. I want to walk away with a great knowledge of the skills needed to be a good wheel thrower.
What I wasn’t expecting was to like it so much, but much like my sculpting I hadn’t anticipated that I would like to continue to learn. In fact I thought it would be hard (it is) and that I wouldn’t click with this style of making. It has indeed increased my love for clay.
So I’m only half way through and I’m hooked. I have that inevitable day dream of magically finding a space where I can continue to practice. But let’s be realistic and not get ahead of myself. I came to learn the basics and that I must continue to do. I can day dream later. I’ve not even made a good pot yet!
This initial step is fundamental. If your clay isn’t centred on the wheel, your pot will likely become lopsided, wonky and may collapse. So this really is an important step to get right. But it’s not easy.
If you are a beginner then I recommend watching as many instructional videos as possible and practice. As I’m a beginner I’m in no place to advise.
What I learnt is that being left handed it’s easier for me to centre and use the wheel in reverse. So when watching the teacher I just flip the instructions.
During my first lesson I couldn’t get the centreing, it felt impossible. Then a week of research and more pracrtice and I’ve gotten soooo much better. I feel much more confident in centreing the clay now.
Once the clay is centred. You can then make an indent in the centred with your finger, then pulling out to the side creating like a doughnut form with base. Then you can slow pull the sides up. This is very tricky and needs plenty of practice and time.
I’m still not quite confident in pulling but I’m getting better. A few things that helped were; using a sponge on the outer side of the clay. And after each pull to neaten the top. This will help stop any wobble.
The first three lessons were practising centring, pulling and then attempting making bowl shapes and trimming the pots at the base. I have enjoyed myself so much, I wish the class was an entire day because it goes past so quickly.
My class is one particularly productive class so I think the glazing day will be manic.
Our next challenge is to continue to practice and make make more pieces of our own designs. ….Trimming our pieces and glazing.
OWN DESIGNS? errrrrrrrrm I don’t feel that I’ve quite conquered the processes just yet. So my final pieces will be super basic, if they don’t collapse!
So yes, I’m hooked, I’m dreaming about owning a house with a pottery shed at the bottom of the garden. This dream in’t new, but it’s now become a reoccurring dream I think one day will come true. For now I’ll keep practising.