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Course outline: This week is an introduction to making pottery on the potter’s wheel. We will learn the basic characteristics and working properties of clay and how to center clay on the wheel in order to make simple pottery forms such as cylinders, bowls and plates. We will learn to operate the equipment and handle clay safely.

Our teacher is Barbara Joy Peel. She is a very nice woman that has been doing pottery forever and you can see it in her throwing. She throws, talks & explains all at once without making it sound like it is very complicated. Some of the students have never thrown before and some have but are not very good at it. So after the first group learns how to center we will all be on the same level. We are all so happy to finally sit behind the wheel that we’re not too concerned about what the outcome looks like. And we have two weeks, because she will also teach us Throwing II so we get our evaluation at the end of the second week with her.

It is very interesting to relearn how to center. I had this lesson on Cortes from this guy who needed some money and gave a clay introduction class. I am still very thankful that he taught these classes or I would have never thought about touching clay. After the lesson was over and I was not even near centering a ball of clay I got the books out. Which is a very difficult thing: learning how to center from a book (at least I think it is).

So when we were all sitting in front of Barbara and she was explaining about her body and hand movements it all made way more sense. Most of our class picked it up real quick. Now at the end of week one, we can all center 1-2 lbs of clay, and we manage to make it look like something you could possibly use for something.

Next thing she is teaching us how to pull handles. At once we all feel really sad. Because they look awful, they don’t stick and they are deformed. And not just from 2 students. ALL of us made AWEFUL handles. And we didn’t even like doing it. You can imagine: 16 students all pull 30 handles. They all look bad. That is 480 bad handles. Which was kind of funny. Because we also have some very persistent students in the class who like to do things right. And it is not happening right now. Not with the handles anyway. We need practice and we need lots of it.