It's become blatantly obvious that I'm going through a bit of a ceramics phase. Making things out of clay is just the perfect combination of art and functionality - no home can ever have too many cacti pots or ring dishes!
Anyway, since becoming mesmerised by the endless possibilities of making stuff out of clay I spontaneously booked myself onto a one-off free form pottery class at Cardiff Pottery Workshops.
I've had absolutely no pottery training before, not even a lesson in GCSE art, so was eager to get at least a little experience under my belt.
The project space itself is also home to several members - professional or trainee ceramic artists who rent a space in the studio, and display their fabulous work near the front door. It was huge, kind of like a warehouse, and felt like the studio space of an artist residency.
The style of the class was free form pottery using the drop mold method. This basically means molding the clay around a tube to make a basic bowl shape, then adding a base afterwards.
The class lasted about 4 hours, and I learned pretty early on that pottery is hard. Kneading moisture and air bubbles out of the clay is the first essential step, and is pretty hard on ya arms. There's also lots of stages to remember. For example, the edge of the clay needs to be scored before sealing two pieces together, and joins needs to be trimmed in a way that closes any gaps securely.
The aim of the class was supposed to be to make 3 nesting bowls. However my clay-molding left a lot to be desired, and I decided that no bowl needs to be taller than it is wide, so made the executive decision to turn my 'bowls' into plant pots. I think the (unintentional) shape will make a great home for a houseplant.
Deciding to try something a bit different, and out of outright refusal to use the ready made butterfly stamps, I gave my pots a Picasso theme - engraving them with 1930's-era Picasso motifs. For my second, larger pot I adopted the outline of the figure in one of Picasso's most Surreal paintings. I'm sure at this point the class thought I was deeply disturbed.
I left the class really happy with what I managed to make, and wanting to learn more. My pots are now awaiting the fiery furnace of the kiln and will be ready to be picked up in 2-3 weeks (update to come!). I'm praying they don't explode due to my shoddy clay-rolling technique.
Anyway, for now I plan to practice lots more free-form pottery with air-dry clay. I'm told the air-dry variety is more fragile as it does't go through the hardening kiln stage, but I'm hoping to create some functional items with it anyway.