Diary of a Whacky Potter

Hey hey WordPressers! How are you? We are steam rolling right through May, huh? Can’t believe it’s the 24th! I am doing pretty great. I had a fun weekend and all, shopping, restaurants, exercising, blah blah blah, but with all that I am pretty excited to share my pottery class experience this week.

Let’s go!

I fit into these babies and beamed all day! Everyone in class loved them too. (🤩)
A lil known fact about me… I love overalls.

I got to class early, I am putting it out there that I always go to class early nowadays. Actually, lately, most of my classmates end up coming in early too. See? Trendsetter 😂. Anyways. The first step when you get to the class is set up your seat -I try to rotate myself around the same table in the back ..idk why. I put my bag on the chair and my water tumbler. Mark my territory real well. Then it’s time to grab your work..either on the shelves finished from the kiln, or, in the damp closet to continue working on, or if you have nothing you wait for the instructions for the day. Since this was our last class of the session, a lot of people had stuff to pick up or finish glazing or whatever it really was a freeform day. Personally, Monday night I had stuff to pick up from the kiln shelf and the whole class to fill with fun.

I got to see my leaf and mug! Ohmygod, guys, I am so happy with what I found on the shelf. I don’t know if anyone recalls my last post about making the leaf plate, but holy shit it came out amazing! I know I usually don’t swear, but this definitely is the time to use it because I was just expecting what always happens something is cracked, the color didn’t come out right, or something kooky.. but not today… not this day!!

After putting my two pieces in my bag, I was wondering where everybody disappeared to because I was alone in the room. But someone came by to grab me to say that our instructor, Emily, was going to teach us how to “throw off the hump” in the new space.

Which, I was like, ‘heck yeah let’s go throw..off..a..hump?’

Throwing off the hump is a pottery technique that involves creating multiple ceramic pieces from a single mound or “hump” of clay on the potter’s wheel. Instead of starting with individual balls of clay for each piece, the potter begins by centering and opening up a larger amount of clay on the wheel. From this central mass, several smaller forms are quickly and efficiently thrown.

Here’s a step-by-step process of throwing off the hump:

  1. Prepare the clay: Wedge and prepare a large amount of clay to remove air bubbles and ensure even consistency.
  2. Center the clay: Place the hump of clay onto the potter’s wheel and use your hands to apply pressure and center it. Make sure it spins smoothly and remains stable.
  3. Open the clay: Using your fingers or a tool, create a hole in the center of the clay mound by pressing down and gradually widening it. This hole will serve as the starting point for each individual piece.
  4. Shape the first piece: Choose the desired size and shape for your first piece. With your hands, begin pulling the clay upwards and shaping it into the desired form while the wheel is spinning. Use water and tools, such as a sponge or rib, to refine the shape and smooth the surface.
  5. Cut off the first piece: Once the first piece is complete, use a wire tool or a sharp knife to cut it off the mound of clay, leaving a small amount of clay at the base to act as a foot or pedestal.
  6. Repeat the process: After removing the first piece, quickly prepare the next mound of clay by recentering and opening it up. Shape the subsequent pieces in the same manner, cutting each one off individually.
  7. Finishing touches: Once all the pieces are thrown, they can be further refined, trimmed, and decorated as desired. Allow them to dry to a leather-hard stage before any additional shaping or trimming.

This technique is often used for creating smaller items such as cups, bowls, or small vases, where producing multiple pieces with uniformity is desired.

Emily, our class instructor, led the class with warmth and patience, guiding us through the fascinating process of throwing pottery off a clay hump.

I went first in the class, and I was really surprised how much easier this technique was vs my expectations. I created one small bowl then passed the torch. It was so much fun! Then for the rest of the class, I decided to throw off the wheel. I need so much more practice on the wheel, guys, and I never give myself enough opportunity to do so out of fear of failure, and I know I said this before, but I need to just focus on the wheel for this next session. Get over my doubts and just sit with the experience. I really want to be proficient at making at least one thing! Anything!!

So ..I left class with three pieces to dry.-one bowl that I made off the hump and two other bowls that I made throwing. I’m not exactly excited on how the other bowls came out but I just wanted to sit there and give the best that I could. I did have to smash and restart twice but that’s pottery. I have to learn from mistakes.

Our Summer session starts June 5, and then life will be a lil hectic for me till I think till end of Summer. There is so much going on! Between vacations, work and Summer fun. All good things.

Well that is my pottery update! 😊 I am so excited for the next session….oh wait! Speaking of Summer, I have great news before I go! My oldest sister and niece from Sicily are coming home on June 6. They are staying until August 1. She just told me last week that she was coming home, so that was a huge surprise 😂. I mean, she did tell me she was going to come home this summer and then she kind of retracted that and then I guess last minute last week she just made the decision. It will be a big Summer for all of us here! Yay!

Thanks so much for stopping by to read, guys. Your support is always appreciated. Hope you all have a great week ahead.

till next time xoxo

3 thoughts on “Diary of a Whacky Potter

  1. It’s wonderful that your sister is coming to visit! Enjoy that time, I love the first photo, you have such a beautiful smile, Valeria! Be well. ❤️

    1. Thanks so much John! I needed that boost of confidence.
      I cant wait to see my sister- it has been almost five years since I last saw her. Or my niece! 😊

      1. You are welcome! I understand how you feel, Valeria, living far from Michigan and where most of my family still is is difficult but I’m living where I want to be. Have a blast with the girls! ☺️🍻

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