Monday, January 2, 2017


In the autumn of 2016 I decided to take a course in pottery at the Art Colony.I had spent quite a lot of time at the wheel waaay back in college to the point where I was reaching competency. After 40+ years away from it, however I needed a refresher in order to be able to do anything at all. I went in with a little confidence, but quickly realized that there was a lot I didn't remember at all. At least clay still felt like clay, the wheel still went around, and the kiln is still as hot as lava.

The class was being taught by Joan, who is quite accomplished and a very good teacher and my classmates for our class titled "Pots for Presents" were all enthusiastic.
The idea of the class was to make gifts for the upcoming holiday season and see just what we might be capable of. It was scheduled for a couple of hours on Tuesday evenings for about 6 or 8 weeks and if you could come in any other time you were welcome to do so. In fact we were given 24 hour access to the studio. Unfortunately, most of our lives are too busy to be that dedicated which was also a bit frustrating. It was a process starting with remembering or relearning how to center the lump of clay. This progressed through the class from being a fifteen minute thing to less than two minutes enabling more throwing time.

We tried making simple pots to mugs to "square" casserole type dishes to jars with lids. We could go in slightly different directions while still learning and relearning some basics. It is amazing how much I had forgotten in four decades. Not unlike how much I can forget in four days or four hours.

The results were amazing. Not necessarily great, but pretty good considering. Here are some of the results.
Ellen with one of her favorites.
Priscilla with one of hers.
Joyce looking at Priscilla's work.
Joyce's black pots and my stuff, mostly.
Some of mine.
Me with a blue plate and my other stuff. Hey, it's my blog!
The class with Joan taking the photo. Standing next to me is Suzy who took all the other pictures because someone didn't remember to bring his camera. That was one of those remembering things I referred to earlier. Sometimes my thinking thingy doesn't do me any favors.
Suzy's very cool casserole dish.

Just after we took this it was potluck time and we enjoyed a repast using our own dishes. Joyce outdid herself with the food she brought, but in typical North Shore potluck tradition we ate very well.



  1. Wow! All that pottery does look very accomplished -- as nice as a lot of pottery I see at craft sales for bigga bigga bucks! Your blue-glazed dish is especially lovely.

  2. beautiful pieces! you are an ARTIST!

    HNY, BTW!

  3. That looks like a lot of fun! I love that casserole dish. I wish someone around here would offer a pottery class!

  4. Gorgeous pieces! I think it is great that you took this course! Happy New Year to you. :)

  5. Those are beautiful pieces. Jono the Potter - who knew?! So did you give away any or all of your work? If so, lucky recipients :)

    Happy New Year to you and yours!

  6. Wow, those are great! Looks like a lot of fun, although I bet I'd be crappy at something so creative. Good for you!

  7. Bill, The truth is I would like to.

    Debra, Thanks! There's a matching mug in there somewhere.

    anne marie, It is one of the art forms that I don't completely suck at. And Happy New Year to you. I miss the Mummer's Parades.

    Jennifer, I also made a casserole dish, but it wasn't as nice as Suzy's. The first two I attempted turned into plates which actually turned out okay.

    Linda, Thanks! It was a great diversion from my everyday stuff and generally quite a bit of fun. Still trying to learn patience with myself, however.

    jenny_o, Good thing my name isn't Harry. Think of the confusion! Have been doling them out, but still have a way to go. In the meantime I have to store them. Sometimes I actually use them.

    Al, Thanks! You are very creative, especially in your writing. Most of us would consider that to be an art form and I am envious of your ability.

  8. Wow...I'm impressed! You've been busy with beautiful results!

  9. oh wow..soooo I wanna do it.

  10. Welcome back, you have been missed.
    I love the fruits of your industry. Centering that recalcitrant lump of clay can be a challenge can't it?
    I hear you on the forgetting. Sometimes I feel like the dorky child from a Farside cartoon who asked to be excused because his brain was full.

  11. Joan was quizzical, studied are justly proud of your creations. For your next challenge, make a clay hammer! That would be art!

  12. But, but, but ... it is wonderful?! Just like 'real stuff' - you know, like stuff people use!!! :)
    Well done you!! Very inspiring.... (looking at all the mud outside).

  13. I'm quite impressed. If I made something with clay, it wouldn't resemble anything artistic or utilitarian. Bravo!

  14. Oh I really like the pottery that you made. I took a couple of pottery courses about 20 years ago and I still use some my creations, but I gave most of them away to friends and family. What are you going to do with yours? But I will be taking another course with a local potter in Jan or Feb, date yet to be determined, so I'll have to brag about what I make via this blog!

  15. Pixel Peeper, Thanks! It was busy, but I would have loved to spend more time doing it.

    JACKIESUE, Anyone can do it with a little instruction and encouragement. Go for it!

    Elephant's Child, Thanks! Hopefully I have some things to share. Clay is fun and it is okay to manipulate it without guilt. My brain was full, but somehow everything seems to be filed wrong and everything is out of order.

    Gorilla Bananas, Thanks for the earworm, but I like that tune. I like the hammer idea. Back in the day I made a large beer pitcher with the handle on the same side as the spout for use after the first pitcher had been emptied.

    Onevikinggirl, It has actually been fun to use my own stuff or serve someone else with it.

    Sioux, I'll bet you would surprise yourself with what you can do. You never know until you try.

    Shammickite, The only pieces I had left over from the first era were the ones too ugly to give away. Not all of the new stuff is good as some are a bit too thick and heavy. I also have another class in February that Joan recommended that I take. The guy comes up from Duluth to teach it and she says he is an excellent teacher.

  16. All the pottery looks amazing. What a talented bunch you are. Sigh-not a crafty bone in my body!

  17. Playing in the mud and making lovely things. Win-win.

  18. I love how you call it time spent at the wheel. That makes it sound so badass. Now I want to try... even though I probably couldn't churn out something even half as good as your blue plate. Maybe a blue, oblong frisbee.

  19. You made some wonderful pieces! Throwing pottery on a wheel is something I've always wanted to try, but I suspect my skills are better suited to the potluck-dinner portion of the program. ;-)

  20. Jono, I'm so glad you're back. Happy New Year, my friend! It should be an interesting year.

  21. Cat Lover, Definitely some crafty people in the class. Your talents may be in other areas, but you definitely have them.

    Blog Fodder, How could we go wrong?

    ABFTS, I think an oblong frisbee might be a boomerang. You could do a lot of damage with a stoneware frisbee.

    Diane, Never underestimate the power of the potluck!

    AK, Always wonderful to see your comments. I hope to be able to see you in the Springtime.

  22. Thats exactly what im doing in the new year!
    Just enrolled myself ,

  23. Those are some beautiful pieces, from everyone! I'm impressed.

  24. John, I found it to be therapeutic and calming to spin the wheel. I hope you will post some results when you get there.

    Shoshanah, That is very nice of you to say. I have been tempted by a few of your pieces (Batty got to one first) especially the wall mounted critters.