Valeria Potter

Hey guys! It’s a beautiful Summer morning and I can’t wait to share my first pottery class experience with you.

So as I mentioned in my last post, I signed up to take a pottery class. Something I have wanted to do for a long time, but have been too scared to take the leap. Well, yesterday I took the leap. 😊

Ugh I am getting old and my eyebrows are weird. Anyways, I was so excited all day for class to begin.

My youngest daughter’s first day of Fall rowing started also yesterday and pretty much we were starting at the same time. Her session at 5:15P and mine at 5:30P. 🤦🏻‍♀️ It turned out to work out just fine, though a tad stressful because I had no clue where I was going for my class and there was some traffic. I was impressed though when I got her to the club door at 5:10P, and I parked for my class by 5:28P! Woo! Go me! 🚗💨

Also, I was able to park for free last night. Not sure how I got so lucky but I did!

Soooo… I have never worked with clay before and had zero expectations of this class. I signed up months ago with thoughts of learning a new skill that has always intrigued me, while having some ‘me time’. Also, to meet new people irl and just get me out of the last two years of this Covid19 funk.

Here we go!

I arrived, like I said, just in time for class. The class was in an old office building right on the main drag. Parking was metered at the back. I walked into the building, in my dingy clothes ready to go, water in one hand and my bright pink woven handbag over my right shoulder.

The art space was on the second floor, and the only way up from the entrance corridor was by elevator. Couldn’t find the stairs. The elevator was rundown, like the office building. If I had to guess, the building was built in the late 40’s. It had the aesthetic of some type of business of yesteryear. Where I grew up had the same type of reinvented feels in the downtown/center. Actually, driving to this place gave me a lot of the same impressions of where I grew up.

When I got up to the second floor, it was lively and colorful with a handful of people waiting. A stark contrast from the entrance. The walls were painted with interesting shapes and colors. It was definitely an art space. I felt like I was at MassArt back in the late 90’s with all of the makeshift projects on the walls and colorful details. (and slightly messy)

Though my time in the waiting room was short, we got waved into the pottery space as soon as I got there, I was able to meet people right away. As we were shuffling in, this adorable older woman approached me and asked if I was alone. She seemed harmless and was pleasant. When I said I was on my own, she immediately asked me to sit with her and her ladies group so I had some company. Which was so nice.

There were four women all together, and I noticed some of them looked alike. They were tiny women (probably 5’ tall) with thin faces and prominent noses, they looked Armenian, except the one woman who was taller and had a round face with rosey cheeks, who looked German. So I started on my internal dialogue game of ‘are they related or work colleagues’. I couldn’t tell solely by their conversation. As we got into the swing of the class I asked- because I am nosey, and found out that the woman who approached me brought her sister, her mom and her mother-in-law to the class. So sweet!

My clay work, on the other hand, not so sweet 😂 .

So, in total, there were 9 people in the class. There were 2 women who sat behind me, who I think are friends -they were talking some strange topics like about cat food allergies irdk. 😆 . They had attended the Summer session, that I understood, and they wanted to continue working. Then there was a set of sisters who were also newbies. The instructor split us into two groups-my five and the other four, my group started with hand building with slab clay and the other group went off to throw on the wheel. Then halfway through we swapped.

Slab clay is evenly rolled out clay that you can cut with templates and manipulate with hands to construct projects. It’s not as easy as it sounds, at least that is what I learned last night. 🤦🏻‍♀️

Clay slab with mug walls template

Though the instructor made it look so easy. Grabbing the slab of clay silently. Placing the template on top, and using the sharp tool to cut it out seamlessly. Then folding and such, making a mug right before our eyes without seams. With a sweet handle and even a cut out to put a tea bag string!

I made the attempt at a mug …twice 😆. The clay was much more dense than I has imagined and even with my weakass wrist from the bone break, I kept pinching too hard and it would weaken the clay. It was frustrating for me because everyone around me had pretty awesome mugs within minutes and I had a somewhat cylindrical thing with holes in it. 😞 I’m not actually sad, it was funny.

I am learning not in a race.

So because groups had to switch places halfway through class, I had to leave my second mug unfinished, wrapped in cling wrap, for me to finish at our next class. It needs a handle still. 🙄

Off to throw!

Throwing pottery wasn’t easy either. Throwing is shaping a piece of clay that is on a moving wheel, a potter’s wheel. First part is to knead and roll the clay into a cone shape to remove bubbles from the clay because the bubbles can cause the pottery to pop in firing. Once the cone shape is ready the wheel has to be wet, and the clay thrown on to stick to the wheel. The water is important since the clay is dry throughout. The key is centering the piece and manipulating it with hand pressure etc.

I was messy at this point I couldn’t take any pictures to share.

I first attempted to make a simple cup, but failed. I tried making a bowl, which collapsed and thought I could salvage it by making it into a plate, and failed. 😂 Both items failed for different reason. The group I was with also restarted their throwing projects but I was the only one who walked out last night without a finished project drying on the rack at all.

But I had an unfinished one. So.

Which is hilarious.

When I got home to share my evening with the family, my husband-who is an active artist, told me how hard he had it with clay. Because clay is hard. Pottery is a hard medium in general. These potters who have YouTube channels and instructors or the folks who are helping in the class, they have years of experience and make it look easy. And I have to just remember that.

I left class feeling good with what I did, though, and with myself. Even though I didn’t have one project done, and fumbled, I did some thing I’ve always wanted to try and I am learning. I know it’s hard, but I have a feeling it will be worth it.

All I plan to watch is a ton of beginner pottery videos till my next class. 😆 This should help.

My next class is in two weeks so keep an eye out around then for my second pottery class update!

Thanks so much for stopping by today, everyone! I appreciate the support, as much as I really appreciate you. It’s always a great feeling.

till my next post xoxo

3 thoughts on “Valeria Potter

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