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Course outline: Students will improve their pottery making skills in order to create better finished pottery with consideration given to functionality. Methods such as sectional throwing, and extended throwing with added coils to make larger pieces, such as planters will be learned. Students will be introduced to the skills needed to create pottery with simple, well crafted lids and the duplication of simple pottery forms to create related multiples. The application of techniques and skills of decorating and glazing to finish work appropriately, attention to detail, and the principles of function, design and aesthetics will also be addressed.

After our 1 week off – well deserved and very much needed – we have classes with Wayne Cardinalli. He is absolutely great. He has many jokes, good advise, laughs a lot, and makes beautiful pots. He throws like his personality, happy, quick, colourful and full of energy. If you weren’t happy when you walked in, you are sure to get a dose of positive energy from him. Our class picks up on it. We make big pots, colour them, play with rims, attach pieces, touts and handles and are having fun. That’s is what is all about this week. How to make beautiful pieces without being too focused, too serious and anal about it. We are happy. People are singing, loading kilns without grumbling and while Wayne tells us good stories, we watch his movements on the kick wheel (with motor) and take notes.

He gives us an assignment in the beginning of the week. Find 10 to 15 pictures of things that you really like, ceramics or other art. I focus on ceramics. I go to the library that is under construction and plow through hundreds of Ceramics Monthly and Clay Art. You won’t believe it, but I didn’t find that many things that I really thought were beautiful. Sometimes I loved the form but disliked the glaze, or the other way around. After a while I realized I needed to be less picky. I look in some art books, but they are a bit out dated and decide to search for my “pictures” online. I see great websites, galleries and museums. I find the beautiful contemporary pieces I am looking for, and soon I have the pictures that I am happy with. We evaluate everybody’s sheet in the evening with wine and chips and it is really interesting. The carvers have many pictures with busy pots. The people in our class that have made not a single functional piece in their free time, have none on their sheet and the ones that make many plates, mugs and bowls, have pictures of food, food and more food, with some pots. It is funny now, to see it so clear without realizing it ahead of this exercise. We all already have our own path in ceramics, and even though we think we still need time to figure it out, we really don’t. All we need to do is take a moment to look at ourselves and look at what we are making. Or what we want to make. It’s all we need to know.

Thanks to Wayne, we had an excellent week.