A few pottery bowls

I decided back in June or July to take an intro pottery class this fall, based on needing some new hobbies and remembering taking pottery classes as a kid and it being fun.

At some point over the summer I even located one of my childhood bowl attempts, actually, since it was the 80s, it was probably supposed to be an ashtray:

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You can probably tell that it was hand-built by a kid, and I guess we brushed the glazes on rather than dipping them, based on how sloppy it is.

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Everyone got super-excited when we saw our bowls had glass bottoms. I guess the teacher did that as a surprise, because I can’t see it being an accident.

Most of the other stuff I remember making was more sculptural and general dicking around – rolling slabs and pressing leaves into the clay, making clay monsters, etc. Certainly we weren’t allowed anywhere near the wheels.

So far, as an adult, it’s been more challenging than fun per se, but a rewarding kind of challenging as I get the hang of wheel-throwing. In the last 5 classes I’ve probably attempted to throw at least 20 bowls and succeeded 6 times, one of which I then wrecked when trying to trim it in the following class.

Good thing you can reuse the clay after wedging it.

Anyway, the usual procedure is to throw the bowl in one class, let it dry somewhat while loosely wrapped in plastic, then trim it in the following week’s class. The magical kiln elves bisque the trimmed bowls while we’re gone, so then the third week we glaze, then the magical kiln elves do their thing again.

So, this week I finally got to see my first two finished bowls. One was made for a friend who requested a shallow bowl for her keys, preferably in some sort of marine blue:

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For the glazing, I dipped it first into a medium blue, then into “turquoise”. Came out fairly uniform but with a bit of a mottling to it close-up:

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I’d been a bit worried it might come out too light with the turquoise overlay, but no cause for concern here.

This was actually my first throwing attempt… funny how it worked OK and so many others after it collapsed… oh well.

The second bowl was thrown in the second class, and it’s a bit more delicate than the first one. In theory the first layer of glaze was a red, with the edges dipped in turquoise, but it didn’t quite turn out as expected:

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Red, you say? Turquoise, huh?

Though I can see some faint areas with a bit of a turquoise tint to them, but they’re not uniform and not where expected.

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Kinda more of a steel blue, actually.

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The reddest part is at the very bottom, and in real life it still looks more brown.

Nonetheless, I do like the randomness of how this combo turned out, complete with black-ish swirl, which I think is probably the outline of my thumb as I held the bowl and cleaned glaze off the foot with a damp sponge – my thumb must have been wet as well. Next time I might try to do that on purpose a few times around as a design feature.

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Hey look, there’s the faintest whiff of aqua/turquoise sorta just below the rim!

Anyway, I trimmed a bowl this week that will be bisqued and awaiting my glaze experiments next week, and I threw two larger bowls this week that will be in need of trimming next week, so in another 3 weeks or so I’ll have a few more bowls to post.

In the meantime, I sense a lot of wedging in my future for this week.

I plan to join the local pottery club after the class is done in order to get more studio time to practise, and I’ll repeat the class in January. And just as I’m sorta getting better with bowls, now it’s time to move on to throwing cylinders to make coffee mugs out of. First attempt collapsed. Oh well.

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