I was trying to figure out when I started making pottery. So I went into the old computer vault and looked it up. It was 2013. Doing the math, that was 7 years ago ;) Here were some photos I found from my first attempts at creating a mug.
Gosh. It is so nice to be able to say I’ve come a long way. You get to say that when you’ve put your time in! For anyone out there who thinks pottery looks easy, I challenge you to take a class this year. If anything, my first class taught me to have the utmost respect for professional potters. I think at the 3-year mark I still couldn’t center a piece of clay. But instantly, when I stuck my hands in that cool wet medium, I knew I would never leave. It’s a feeling I crave even seven years later.
Want to hear something strange? I don’t think I’ve said this out-loud before. I probably shouldn’t. You’re going to think I’m crazy. So, it wasn’t so much wheel-throwing, but the first time I built a pot using only my hands, I felt I had done it before. Intuitively I knew how to spin the vessel in my hands to create shapes and finishes without ever being taught. It’s like my body went into auto pilot and I just knew how to do almost everything. I got this strange vibe like I had been in Greece or Egypt a thousand years ago doing this very thing. I tell you. I connect to pottery on a spiritual level. As fru-fru as that sounds. It connects me to humanity’s past. And boy, how cool is it that humans are still carrying on a tradition that goes back thousands of years? It’s like bakers. I love that some one in ancient Rome was eating the same amazing food we eat today.
I usually make my mugs in batches of six at a time. I wheel throw, build the mug tops and handles, assemble the mugs, green ware fire, glaze, and then do the second final fire. So the photo up above shows two batches of mugs. I did 6 short mugs one week and 6 tall mugs the next. Over time, I think I’ve established my own style. I usually combine wheel-throwing with slabs of clay. You really can’t get too much texture in wheel thrown pieces and I LOVE texture. That’s why I combine the two. (Now don’t tell my pottery instructor this but…) I don’t like how “earthy” pottery glazes are. I’m a bright and colorful gal! This is why I hand-paint a lot of my pieces. To be able to get some bright colors you do not find in traditional pottery glazes. Over time these “poopy” colors have been beginning to grow on me. I think combining the bright color of hand-painting underglazes with the dipping of traditional ceramic glazes is the best of both worlds. Who knew all of my quirks would help me get to a point where a person can tell it’s my mug on the kiln shelf. That feels pretty good.
Unfortunately, (well fortunately for me ! ) quite a few of my mugs have sold through my Etsy shop already. I was hoping to have way more. I have another two batches in production at the studio, but with the pandemic, I’m not sure when I’ll get them completed. I will definitely post them when I do though!
Seven years of mug making. Yeah, I don’t see me retiring from making them anytime soon.
Truly, I’m addicted :)